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

  • April 13, 2016 U.S. regional tornado outbreaks and their links to spring ENSO phases and North Atlantic SST variability - Tornado outbreaks are one of nature's most destructive forces. This study breaks new ground on a potential basis for seasonal predictability of tornado outbreak probability over the U.S. in boreal spring. The goal of the study was to explore the scientific basis for predictions of outbreaks a month or more in advance. Currently, the risk of regional tornado outbreaks is predictable only about a week ahead. Read more
  • February 22, 2016 Anthropogenic climate change drives shift and shuffle in North Atlantic phytoplankton communities - This study estimates the impact of projected anthropogenic climate change over the next century on marine phytoplankton communities, and increases our understanding of the drivers of ecological change. The change in biogeography for North Atlantic phytoplankton taxa in response to anthropogenic climate change is quantified, and the primary physical drivers of the projected changes are diagnosed. These findings indicate that over the course of the next century, shifts of phytoplankton taxa will significantly modify plankton assemblages over entire exclusive economic zones for the marine territory of many countries. Read more
  • February 1, 2016 Enhanced Atlantic Sea Level Rise Relative to the Pacific Under High Carbon Emission Rates - Recent observational studies indicate that more than 90% of the anthropogenically-generated heat anomaly generated between 1971 and 2010 has gone into warming the oceans. Furthermore, the Atlantic basin is warming faster than the Pacific. This study demonstrates that basin scale differences in heat uptake and sea level rise are a forced response from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and the inter-basin differences vary with emission rate. Read more
  • January 8, 2016 Enhanced warming of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean under climate change - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment of projected global and regional ocean temperature change is based on global climate models that have coarse (~100-km) ocean and atmosphere resolutions. In the Northwest Atlantic, the ensemble of global climate models has a warm bias in sea surface temperature due to a misrepresentation of the Gulf Stream position; thus, existing climate change projections are based on unrealistic regional ocean circulation. Read more

Read more GFDL Research Highlights

Events & Seminars

  • May 24, 2016: Moisture and wave-mean flow interactions in the general circulation of Earth's atmosphere (abstract)
    Ray Yamata (Courant Institute, NYU)
    Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 24, 2016: Dry Deposition Meeting (abstract)
    Dry Deposition Meeting
    Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    Location: 217 Conference Room
  • May 24, 2016: Dry Deposition Meeting (abstract)
    Dry Deposition Meeting
    Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Location: 309 Seminar Room
  • May 25, 2016: Dominant Role of Subtropical Pacific Warming on the Extreme 2015 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season (abstract)
    Hiroyuki Murakami (GFDL)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 26, 2016: Extending the ice core record of atmospheric composition and the global carbon cycle beyond 1 million years (abstract)
    John Higgins (Princeton University)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 27, 2016: Investigating the Impacts of Mesoscale Circulation on Low-Mode Internal Tides (abstract)
    Michael Dunphy (IFREMER, Plouzane, France)
    Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 31, 2016: TBD (abstract)
    Peng Gong (Tsinghua University)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • June 1, 2016: TBD (abstract)
    Alon Stern (GFDL)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room

More events & seminars...