GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Research Highlights

April 24th, 2018 - Underestimated AMOC variability and implications for AMV and predictability in CMIP models

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has profound impacts on various climate phenomena. Using both observations and simulations from multiple models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, the authors estimated the amplitude of low-frequency AMOC variability in observations, compared it with those in model simulations, and examined the effects of low-frequency AMOC variability on the linkage between AMOC and Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV). Read More…

March 20th, 2018 - Robustness of Anthropogenically Forced Decadal Precipitation Changes Projected for the 21st Century

Precipitation is characterized by substantial natural variability, including on regional and decadal scales. This relatively large variability poses a grand challenge in assessing the significance of anthropogenically forced precipitation changes. The authors use multiple large ensembles of climate change experiments to evaluate whether, on regional scales, anthropogenic changes in decadal precipitation mean state (i.e., ensemble average) are distinguishable – i.e., outside the range expected from natural variability. Read More…

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…

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