GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Research Highlights

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…

February 22nd, 2016 - Anthropogenic climate change drives shift and shuffle in North Atlantic phytoplankton communities

This study estimates the impact of projected anthropogenic climate change over the next century on marine phytoplankton communities, and increases our understanding of the environmental drivers of ecological change. The change in biogeography for North Atlantic phytoplankton taxa in response to anthropogenic climate change is quantified, and the primary physical drivers of the projected changes are diagnosed. These findings indicate that over the course of the next century, climate change may significantly modify phytoplankton assemblages throughout the North Atlantic, and may shift individual species ranges considerably, on a magnitude of the exclusive economic zones for the marine territory of many countries. Read More…

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