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

  • February 14, 2014 Changing Ocean may Challenge Atlantic Cod - This study uses climate projections from GFDL’s Earth system model (ESM2.1) to force an individual-based model for the larval stages of North Atlantic Cod at each of 5 cod spawning sites across the North Atlantic. The behavioral and physiological state of thousands of cod larvae is modeled in response to ESM projected physical and biological changes. The ESM-IBM coupling provides a unique means of exploring the mechanistic response of cod larvae to climate forcing. Read more
  • February 6, 2014 Solving the mystery of Hawaiian ozone changes - A potent greenhouse gas and biological irritant, ozone near the Earth surface is also a health-damaging air pollutant, regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate shifts have caused Asian ozone pollution reaching Hawaii to rise unexpectedly in autumn since mid-1990s, according to this study. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience, imply that variability in airflow patterns must be considered when attributing observed ozone changes to human-induced trends in precursor emissions. Read more
  • January 28, 2014 Regular patterns in frictional resistance of ice-stream beds seen by surface data inversion - This study advances our understanding of the physical processes controlling the dynamics of ice streams - pathways for ice discharge from the interior of ice sheets to surrounding oceans - and the leading source of uncertainty in projections of global sea level rise in the 21st century. Read more
  • September 18, 2013 The Extreme March-May 2012 Warm Anomaly Over the Eastern United States: Global Context and Multimodel Trend Analysis - The authors compared observations to model results, using 23 different CMIP5 models to simulate internal climate variability and the response to anthropogenic and natural forcing. The models were used to investigate the causes of the unusual warmth during March-May 2012 that occurred over the eastern U.S. The 20th century warming trend that was observed in this region is consistent with the CMIP5 multi-model ensemble results of All-Forcing runs but not consistent with model runs that did not include external forcing. Read more

Read more GFDL Research Highlights

Events & Seminars

  • April 24, 2014: Explaining the continuum of Dansgaard Oeschger variability (abstract)
    Axel Timmermann (U of Hawaii)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 28, 2014: Phase speed of ocean eddy fluxes in the Pacific (abstract)
    Ryan Abernathy (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NY)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • May 29, 2014: How different is too different? How different is different enough? (abstract)
    Claudia Tebaldi (NCAR)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • June 5, 2014: TBA
    Frederic Vitart (ECMWF- Reading UK)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • June 11, 2014: A survey of Coordinated Ocean-ice Reference Experiments (COREs) (abstract)
    Stephen Griffies (GFDL)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • June 12, 2014: A Monsoonal link to the rapid Arctic ice melt (abstract)
    T. N. Krishnamurti (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • July 9, 2014: TBA
    Baylor Fox-Kemper (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island)
    Time: 8:30 am - 8:30 am
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 25, 2014: TBA
    Dave Thompson (CSU)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room

More events & seminars...