GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Research Highlights

February 7th, 2018 - On the seasonal prediction of the western United States El Niño precipitation pattern during the 2015/16 winter

There has been an increasing call for better seasonal precipitation prediction systems to support water resource management, particularly over regions like the western United States, where a multi-year drought persisted from 2012-2016. This research addresses the challenge of building a better prediction system by exploring the extent to which this past winter’s western U.S. precipitation anomalies may have been predictable, using experimental retrospective forecasts with GFDL’s Forecast-Oriented Low Resolution (FLOR) model. Read More…

January 31st, 2018 - The Role of Atlantic Overturning Circulation in the Recent Decline of Atlantic Major Hurricane Frequency

Observed Atlantic major hurricane frequency has exhibited pronounced multidecadal variability since the 1940s. However, the cause of this variability is debated. This study explores the causes of the recent decline of Atlantic major hurricane frequency over the period 2005-2015, using various observational datasets and modeling results from a 500-year control simulation of a fully coupled earth system model, GFDL’s ESM2G. Read More…

January 22nd, 2018 - Potential for Western United States Seasonal Snowpack Prediction

The majority of annual precipitation in the Western United States accumulates between October and April, falling as snow in the mountains. As a result, snow accumulation forms mountain snowpack, peaking in early spring and melting into the summer, dominating runoff and influencing lower elevation streamflow. Variations in snowpack influence warm season water supply, wildfire risk, ecology, and industries like agriculture dependent on snow and downstream water availability. Read More…

December 20th, 2017 - A New Paradigm for Diagnosing Contributions to Model Aerosol Forcing Error

Aerosol radiative forcing and its uncertainty are seen as major challenges that climate models face in reproducing observed temperature records. Climate models, such as those reporting results for the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, exhibit a persistently large range of aerosol radiative forcing, both natural and anthropogenic. For this research, the authors carried out a systematic evaluation of the impact of radiative errors on simulated aerosol radiative effect across the diversity of aerosol distributions resulting from the same experiment, to address a persistent ambiguity in climate sensitivity. Read More…

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…

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