GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Research Highlights

December 5th, 2017 - The impact of anthropogenic land use/land cover change on regional climate extremes

Land surface processes modulate the severity of heat waves, droughts, and other weather extreme events. Vegetation and surface moisture conditions have been shown to impact both the severity and duration of heat wave events, as well as future aridity over land. An earth system model, GFDL’s ESM2G, was used to investigate the regional impacts of historical anthropogenic land use/land cover change (LULCC) on combined extremes of temperature and humidity Read More…

August 24th, 2017 - Potential salinity and temperature futures for the Chesapeake Bay using a statistical downscaling spatial disaggregation framework.

Estuaries are very important to coastal communities, both socially and economically. Estuaries are also essential links in the life cycles of numerous ecologically and economically important marine and freshwater resources. This research highlights potential future changes to the Chesapeake Bay estuarine environment. In particular, the authors look at how climate change may impact Chesapeake Bay temperature and salinity, properties that exert strong controls on marine resource habitats, as well as migration, spawning phenology, recruitment and occurrence of pathogens. Read More…

August 8th, 2017 - On the Persistence and Coherence of Subpolar Sea Surface Temperature and Salinity Anomalies Associated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability

The low frequency variability in the North Atlantic Ocean temperature has been shown to exhibit various important climate impacts at global and regional scales. Understanding the physical mechanism for this low frequency variability in the North Atlantic Ocean temperature is crucial for achieving successful future predictions of North Atlantic ocean temperature and the associated climate impacts. Read More…

March 1st, 2017 - US surface ozone trends and extremes from 1980 to 2014: Quantifying the roles of rising Asian emissions, domestic controls, wildfires, and climate

Within the United States, ground-level ozone has been recognized since the 1940s and 1950s as an air pollutant that is detrimental to public health. Ground-level ozone responds to varying global-to-regional precursor emissions and climate, with implications for designing effective U.S. air quality control policies under the lowered national air quality standard (70 ppb set in 2015). This study examines these conjoined processes with observations and global chemistry-climate model hindcasts (GFDL-AM3) over the course of 35 years, from 1980 to 2014. Read More…

January 23rd, 2017 - Reconciling Ocean Productivity and Fisheries Yields

The authors explore the complex relationship between phytoplankton production and fish, using recent critical advances in our knowledge of global patterns in fish catch and fishing effort, as well as the plankton food webs that connect phytoplankton and fish. A high-resolution global earth system model, developed at GFDL, was used to assess the potential magnitude of future changes in fish yield under climate change. This model has ten times the resolution of a typical climate model and includes comprehensive plankton dynamics. Read More…

September 5th, 2016 - Exploring the role of movement in determining the global distribution of marine biomass using a coupled hydrodynamic – size-based ecosystem model

Modeling the dynamics of marine populations at a global scale – from phytoplankton to fish – is necessary in order to quantify how climate change and other broad-scale anthropogenic actions affect the supply of marine-based food. In this study, the abundance and distribution of fish biomass in the ocean is estimated, by coupling a size-based fish food web model to retrospective ocean physics and biogeochemistry simulations covering the past 60 years. The authors focused on the spatial distribution of biomass, identifying highly productive regions – shelf seas, western boundary currents and major upwelling zones. Read More…

June 20th, 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 13th, 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…

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