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
. 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

  • 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
    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 uptake

    Climate-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

    • N, P, CH4, Fe, etc.

  • Improve representation of

  • Improve components

    • Dust, sea salt, fire, land use

  • Migrate to CM3-based

  • Investigation of high resolution

    • Coastal processes

    • Seasonal-decadal scale
      variability analysis/prediction