GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Accomplishments and Near-Term Plans

Biogeochemistry, Ecosystems and Climate Group

 October 2009

Over the past few years we have built 3 new Earth System Models (ESMs). The first ESM we built is ESM2.1. It has been used to study the response of the climate and ecosystems to past and future changes in radiative forcing due to human activities. This model was developed from GFDL’s successful CM2.1 climate model. The 2 newest ESMs, ESM2M and ESM2G, are complete and are being used in CMIP5 in support of the  IPCC AR5.


Our accomplishments over the past few years include:

  • Development of 3 new ESMs which simulate the changes in the carbon cycle as climate changes
  • The ESMs include vegetation dynamics and ocean biogeochemistry and physics to close the carbon cycle
  • ESM2.1 has been used to study past and make projections of future changes in climate and ecosystems including changes in the ocean acidification.
  • Studies using the new dynamic vegetation and carbon cycling component of the ESM have lead to the quantification of the physical impact of land cover changes on climate and the assessment of the uncertainty related to CO2 fertilization of land plants.

The new ESMs allow new studies:

  • The new land component model (LM3) allows us to investigate land use impacts and movement of biomes and treats a greatly expanded range of continental hydrologic processes
  • Our new ocean biogeochemistry model (TOPAZ) allows us to assess controls on ocean habitat, productivity, ecological composition, elemental cycling and their response to anthropogenic forcings
  • We are improving our ability to represent ocean upper trophic levels to allow connections to a broader range of living marine resource applications

Our research plans for the next several years will focus on producing the integrations needed in support of CMIP5 and IPCC AR5. We will also be making runs to investigate various scientific questions which will arise from those runs and elsewhere. These studies include a suite of investigations of the earth system:

  • Land use impact on carbon changes
  • Increasing CO2 impacts on ecosystems
  • Oceanic heat and carbon uptakeClimate-Carbon cycle feedbacks
  • Climate – Living Marine Resource (e.g. fisheries) interactions
  • Water availability changes
  • Paleo-climate

Over the next several years, using the analysis of the integrations outlined above, we will also be improving our models. These improvements include:

  • Close additional biogeochemical cycles
    • N, P, CH4, Fe, etc.
  • Improve representation of biodiversity
  • Improve components
    • Dust, sea salt, fire, land use
  • Migrate to CM3-based ESM
  • Investigation of high resolution
    • Coastal processes
    • Seasonal-decadal scale variability analysis/prediction