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36 GFDL Scientists are Among Best in the World

October 2, 2023
– A remarkable three dozen GFDL researchers have been recognized among the top scientists around the globe, as assessed by in its ranking of the “Best Scientists in the World” for 2023. This ranking identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at GFDL who are having a significant impact on the research community. This achievement also positioned GFDL as the top research program in NOAA for environmental sciences.

Research Highlight

Coherent Mechanistic Patterns of Tropical Land Hydroclimate Change

September 5, 2023
– Accurate predictions of future changes in hydroclimate over land, in particular the magnitude and frequency of extreme heat, extreme rainfall, and droughts are of paramount importance for society. Gaps in our process-level understanding of land-atmosphere interactions remain, in particular with respect to the connection between changes in different types of extremes, and the connection between changes in local land-atmosphere interactions with the global-scale response of the hydrological cycle to climate forcings.


Rong Zhang Elected AGU Fellow for 2023

Rong ZhangSeptember 19, 2023 – Rong Zhang, a Senior Scientist and head of GFDL’s Ocean and Cryosphere Division, was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for 2023 for her “seminal contributions to the study of the Atlantic Ocean and its role in global climate.” Dr. Zhang is considered a leading expert on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and Atlantic Multidecadal Variability. Her work has advanced our understanding of the mechanisms of multidecadal climate variability and its importance in shaping the climate record of the Atlantic basin and northern hemisphere. She has provided important insights about the role of the AMOC in many regional phenomena having enormous social and economic implications, such as Gulf Stream separation, Intertropical Convergence Zone shifts, Sahel monsoon rainfall, Atlantic hurricane activity, and Arctic sea ice extent.

Research Highlight

Abrupt loss and uncertain recovery from fires of Amazon forests under low climate mitigation scenarios

August 23, 2023
– Tropical forests buffer climate change impacts by acting as a major sink for anthropogenic carbon emissions, which is essential to slowing down the buildup of atmospheric CO2. However, the response of tropical forests to more frequent weather extremes and long-recovery disturbances like fires remains uncertain. Analyses of field data and ecological theory raise concerns about the possibility of the Amazon crossing a tipping point, leading to catastrophic tropical forest loss. In contrast, climate models consistently project an enhanced tropical sink.

Research Highlight

Regulating finescale resolved convection in high-resolution models for better hurricane track prediction

August 4, 2023
– Hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones (TC), are the costliest weather disasters in the U.S. and accurate hurricane track and intensity forecasts are crucial for early preparation. High-resolution models (approximately 3 km grid spacing or finer) covering a large domain are emerging as powerful tools for hurricane prediction.

Research Highlight

A Mechanistic Sea Spray Generation Function Based on the Sea State and the Physics of Bubble Bursting

Waves and sea spray
May 24, 2023
– Bubbles bursting at the ocean surface are an important source of sea spray aerosols. They contribute to atmospheric aerosols and play a crucial role in radiative and cloud processes. Uncertainties related to the large range of scales involved, and the complexity of the processes, leads to open questions about the dependencies on wind speed, ocean wave properties and water temperature.

Research Highlight

Increases in Extreme Precipitation over the Northeast United States using High-resolution Climate Model Simulations

May 11, 2023
– Extreme precipitation is among the most destructive natural disasters. Simulating changes in regional extreme precipitation remains challenging, partially limited by the horizontal resolution in climate models. For this study, the authors used an ensemble of high-resolution (25-km) global climate model simulations to study extreme precipitation over the Northeastern United States, where extremes have increased rapidly since the mid-1990s.


GFDL’s Journey for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

April 21, 2023
– The theme for Earth Day this year is “Invest In Our Planet,” and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is leading the way in environmental sustainability. As a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research laboratory, we have implemented innovative, environmentally sustainable and energy-saving solutions that not only contribute to combating climate change but have also inspired others to act.


Driving improvements in weather and climate forecasting with GFDL’s experimental models

April 6, 2023
– Operational models are the backbone of weather and climate prediction, allowing experts to make informed predictions about the weather a few days from now — or the climate several decades into the future. But there’s another type of model that’s important to the forecasting process: experimental models. These models allow scientists to conduct research, test new theories, and make improvements to the modeling process, learning lessons that can ultimately be incorporated into operational models used by NOAA and NASA.