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Research Highlight

Structure and Performance of GFDL’s CM4.0 Climate Model

November 6, 2019 – This paper describes the GFDL’s latest multi-purpose atmosphere-ocean coupled climate model, CM4.0. It consists of GFDL’s newest atmosphere and land models at about 100 km horizontal resolution, and ocean and sea ice models at roughly 25 km horizontal resolution. A handful of standard experiments have been conducted with CM4.0 for participation in the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6), an archive of climate model results utilized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the climate research community more generally.

Research Highlight

On the Mechanisms of the Active 2018 Tropical Cyclone Season in the North Pacific

Super typhoon Yutu

November 4, 2019 – The 2018 tropical cyclone (TC) season in the North Pacific was very active, with 39 tropical storms including 8 typhoons/hurricanes. Unlike the typical limitations in skill of seasonal predictions made before April initial forecasts, the active 2018 TC season was successfully predicted by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory Forecast-oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) global coupled model 3–5 months in advance (i.e., successful predictions from 1 February 2018).


More events


Why are big storms bringing so much more rain? Warming, yes, but also winds

Cars in a flooded street

October 31, 2019 – For three hurricane seasons in a row, storms with record-breaking rainfall have caused catastrophic flooding in the southern United States: Harvey in 2017, Florence in 2018 and Imelda in 2019.

A new analysis by Princeton researchers explains why this trend is likely to continue with global warming. Both the higher moisture content of warmer air and storms’ increasing wind speeds conspire to produce wetter storms, the researchers reported in a study published on October 18 in the Nature Partner Journal Climate and Atmospheric Science.

Research Highlight

Rising temperatures increase importance of oceanic evaporation as a source for continental precipitation

October 1, 2019 – In many parts of the world, water resources for humans and ecosystems are heavily dependent on precipitation. Terrestrial precipitation is fed by moisture originating as evaporation from oceans and from recycling of water evaporated from continental sources. Understanding the vulnerability of regional precipitation to changing climatic conditions and to changing land cover conditions is of critical importance to society.

Research Highlight

Hurricane Model Development at GFDL: A Collaborative Success Story from a Historical Perspective

September 6, 2019 – In 1970, a new hurricane project was established at GFDL to perform basic hurricane research using numerical modeling. Within a few years, this pioneering research had led to the development of a new hurricane model. As the reputation of the model grew, GFDL was approached in 1986 by the director of the National Meteorological Center to establish a collaboration between the two Federal organizations to transition the model into an operational modeling system.

Research Highlight

Skillful Prediction of Monthly North Atlantic Major Hurricane Activity with Two-way Nesting

August 27, 2019 – Existing hurricane prediction systems fall into two categories: hurricane track and intensity predictions on a weekly timescale; and the prediction of hurricane activity on a seasonal timescale. Substantial progress has been made in improving the predictions on the two distinct timescales in the past decade. However, the prediction of hurricane activity on a subseasonal timescale (from two weeks to two months) has not shown much advancement. Credible subseasonal hurricane predictions can have significant socioeconomic impacts, but are challenging.


New engine is driving NOAA’s flagship weather forecast model

June 12, 2019 – As NOAA launches a major upgrade in its flagship weather forecast model this week, an important part is the Global Forecast System’s new dynamical core. The story of how scientists developed the dynamical core or engine of the model is a view into how scientific invention works.

Research to Operations

New Forecast Product to Provide 3- to 4-Week Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks

Predicting the weather beyond two weeks in advance is a daunting challenge, but a team of scientists led by Nat Johnson (Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Cooperative Institute for Climate Science), as part of a Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program-Climate Test Bed (CTB) project successfully developed and transitioned a forecast tool into operations that provides guidance to NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasters for their operational 3-to- 4 week temperature outlooks.