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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. There is much uncertainty in the sources of predictability; furthermore, the realistic simulation of hurricanes requires high horizontal resolution (at least finer than 10 km), which is expensive when using global prediction systems.

Research Highlight

Predicting the evolution of the 2014-2016 California Current System marine heatwave from an ensemble of coupled global climate forecasts

August 26, 2019 – The factors contributing to heatwaves have been the subject of intensive research for many decades. The urgency of this work arises from the steep toll that heatwaves impose on public health, and the prospect that climate change may increase the frequency and severity of these events. Heatwaves also occur beneath the waves, where they can severely affect living marine resources upon which our coastal economies and food supply relies.


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When will we observe significant changes in the ocean due to climate change? New study offers roadmap

August 19, 2019 – When will we see significant changes in the ocean due to climate change? A new study finds that some changes will become noticeable within one to three decades, while others will take up to a century.

Sea temperature and ocean acidification have climbed during the last three decades to levels beyond what is expected due to natural variation alone, a new study led by Princeton researchers finds. Meanwhile other impacts from climate change, such as changes in the activity of ocean microbes that regulate the Earth’s carbon and oxygen cycles, will take several more decades to a century to appear.

Research Highlight

Tropical Cyclone sensitivities to CO2 doubling: Roles of atmospheric resolution and background climate changes

Tropical Cyclone Idai

August 16, 2019 – This research explored the sensitivity of large-scale surface climate and tropical cyclone activity to a doubling of CO2, using three coupled global climate models that span a range of horizontal atmospheric and land resolutions. The authors investigated the impact of resolution changes in the atmosphere within a family of coupled global climate models with identical ocean and sea ice components, and whose atmospheric configurations differ only in their horizontal resolution (~200km, ~50km, and ~25km).

Research Highlight

A spring barrier for regional predictions of summer Arctic sea ice

Arctic sea ice

August 1, 2019 – A central goal of the sea ice research community is to assess the ability of climate models to accurately predict Arctic sea ice. A broad range of stakeholders have a pressing need for regional forecasts. Previous studies assessing sea ice prediction skill suggest that some regions in the Arctic have a “prediction skill barrier” in the spring season, where predictions of summer sea ice made prior to May are substantially less accurate than predictions made after May. However, this barrier has only been documented in a few climate models. This study employs a simple model that uses sea ice volume to predict summer sea ice area.


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.

Research Highlight

Seasonal prediction potential for springtime dustiness in the U.S.

Dust storm

July 29, 2019 – Severe dust storms reduce visibility and cause breathing problems and lung diseases, affecting public health, transportation, and safety. Reliable forecasts for dust storms and overall dustiness are important for hazard preventions and resource planning. Most dust forecast models focus on short, sub-seasonal lead times, i.e., three to six days, and the skill of seasonal prediction is not clear. In this study we examine the potential of seasonal dust prediction in the U.S. using an observation-constrained regression model, with key variables predicted by a seasonal prediction model, GFDL’s Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR).

Research Highlight

Seasonal to multi-annual marine ecosystems prediction with a global Earth system model

school of fish

July 18, 2019 – Climate variations profoundly impact marine ecosystems and the communities that depend upon them. Anticipating these shifts using global Earth System Models (ESMs) could enable communities to adapt to climate fluctuations and contribute to long-term ecosystem resilience. The authors show that newly developed ESM-based marine biogeochemical predictions can skillfully predict observed seasonal to multi-annual chlorophyll fluctuations in many regions.