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

  • June 20, 2016 The North Atlantic Oscillation as a driving force for observed rapid Arctic sea ice change, hemispheric warming, and Atlantic tropical cyclone variability - In order to better understand the factors governing observed climate variability and change, it is critical to better understand the mechanisms contributing to natural climate variability, particularly on decadal and longer time scales. The ocean is thought to play a critical role in such variability. This study examined factors that influence decadal and longer time-scale variability of the Atlantic Ocean, and its subsequent influence on the overall climate system. Read more
  • 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

Read more GFDL Research Highlights

Events & Seminars

  • July 27, 2016: Global/Regional Non-hydrostatic Numerical Weather Prediction Model Using Semi-implicit and Semi-Lagrangian Method: progress and challenges (abstract)
    Xueshun Shen (Center for Numerical Weather Prediction, China Meteorological Administration)
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • August 2, 2016: Spencer Hill Final Public Oral (abstract)
    Spencer Hill Final Public Oral
    Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • August 5, 2016: Summer Intern Presentations (abstract)
    Summer Intern Presentations
    Time: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • August 12, 2016: Jeff Strong Final Oral Presentation (abstract)
    Jeff Strong Final Oral Presentation
    Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 8, 2016: TBD (abstract)
    Yoshi Wada (Columbia University)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 21, 2016: Louise Nuijens of MIT (abstract)
    Louise Nuijens of MIT
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • September 23, 2016: TBD (abstract)
    Jaya Khanna FPO
    Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room
  • October 6, 2016: TBD (abstract)
    Annalisa Bracco (Georgia Tech)
    Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    Location: Smagorinsky Seminar Room

More events & seminars...