GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

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The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is engaged in comprehensive long lead-time research fundamental to NOAA's mission. Scientists at GFDL develop and use mathematical models and computer simulations to improve our understanding and prediction of the behavior of the atmosphere, the oceans, and climate. GFDL scientists focus on model-building relevant for society, such as hurricane research, prediction, and seasonal forecasting, and understanding global and regional climate change.

Since 1955, GFDL has set the agenda for much of the world's research on the modeling of global climate change and has played a significant role in the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. GFDL's mission is to be a world leader in the development of earth system models, and the production of timely and reliable knowledge and assessments on natural climate variability and anthropogenic changes.

GFDL research encompasses the predictability and sensitivity of global and regional climate; the structure, variability, dynamics and interaction of the atmosphere and the ocean; and the ways that the atmosphere and oceans influence, and are influenced by various trace constituents. The scientific work of the Laboratory incorporates a variety of disciplines including meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, classical physics, fluid dynamics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and numerical analysis.

Research is also facilitated by the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program (AOS), which is a collaborative program at GFDL with Princeton University. Under this program, Princeton faculty, research scientists, and graduate students participate in theoretical studies, both analytical and numerical, and in observational experiments in the laboratory and in the field. The program is supported in part by NOAA funding. AOS scientists may also be involved in GFDL research through institutional or international agreements.

For an overview of GFDL's work, see our Fact Sheet.

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Research Highlights

  • July 21, 2014 Rapid subsurface warming and circulation changes of Antarctic coastal waters by poleward shifting winds - Projected changes in the winds circling the Antarctic may accelerate global sea level rise significantly more than previously estimated. Changes to Antarctic winds may have a profound impact on warming ocean temperatures under the ice shelves along the coastline of West and East Antarctic. Projected Antarctic wind shifts were included in a detailed global ocean model, and the authors found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures rose up to meet the base of the Antarctic ice shelves. Read more
  • July 13, 2014 Regional rainfall decline in Australia attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and ozone levels - A suite of simulations, with a new high-resolution climate model (CM2.5) developed at GFDL, were used to study the observed long-term decline of winter rainfall over parts of southern Australia. In addition to a control simulation, ensembles of simulations were performed that included various combinations of changing radiative forcing, including those from natural sources (volcanic eruptions and solar irradiance changes) and anthropogenic sources (changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, ozone, and land use changes). Read more
  • June 26, 2014 Trajectory sensitivity of the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emission - The insensitivity of the global climate response once emissions cease in simplified coupled climate models has been used to argue for lack of committed warming based on past carbon emissions. Additional studies have also demonstrated that the cessation of carbon emissions results in a stabilization or decrease of global mean surface air temperature. Such studies generally assume either a 1%/year increase or an instantaneous doubling/quadrupling of atmospheric CO2. Read more
  • May 23, 2014 The Role of Global Climate Change in the Extreme Low Summer Arctic Sea Ice Extent in 2012 - The rapid change in summer Arctic sea ice could have significant large scale climatic, ecological, and economic impacts. Understanding the mechanisms for the recent rapid decline in summer Arctic sea ice will help to predict future changes in summer Arctic sea ice and associated climatic, ecological, and economic impacts. Read more

Read more GFDL Research Highlights

Events & Seminars

  • July 30, 2014: A link between the hiatus in global warming and North American drought (abstract)
    Tom Delworth (GFDL)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 17, 2014: TBA
    V. Balaji (CICS Princeton)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 18, 2014: TBA
    Alexander Khain (Hebrew University)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 24, 2014: Stochastic parameterization of QG flows (abstract)
    Ian Grooms ( NYU Courant Institute of Mathematics)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 25, 2014: TBA
    Dave Thompson (CSU)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • October 8, 2014: TBA
    Lee Murray (Columbia - NY)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • October 22, 2014: TBA
    David Neelin (UCLA)
    Time: 9:30 am - 9:30 am
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room

More events & seminars...