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GFDL Research Highlights

July 19th, 2013 - Earlier Onset of the Indian Monsoon in the late 20th century: the Role of Anthropogenic Aerosols

This study investigates the impact of the late 20th century increase of anthropogenic aerosols on the onset of the Indian summer monsoon. Aerosols are likely responsible for the observed earlier onset, resulting in enhanced June precipitation over most of India. This shift is preceded by strong aerosol forcing over the Bay of Bengal and Indochina, mostly attributable to the direct effect, resulting in increased atmospheric stability that inhibits the monsoon migration in May.
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June 24th, 2013 - Dynamical Downscaling Projections of Late 21st Century Atlantic Hurricane Activity: CMIP3 and CMIP5 Model-based Scenarios

The authors explored the influence of anthropogenic climate change on Atlantic hurricane activity in the 21stcentury, using dynamical climate models. The results of experiments using multi-model climate change scenarios were compared, with one scenario taken from CMIP3 (A1B), and one from CMIP5 (RCP4.5). A significant reduction in the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes is projected for both CMIP3 and CMIP5 ensembles. However, the authors found significantly increased frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in experiments with the CMIP3 ensemble. Experiments with the CMIP5 ensemble showed a smaller increase in the strongest storms. In addition, tropical cyclone-related rainfall rates, increased significantly–by about 30% in the hurricane inner core (within 50 km of the storm center) with a smaller increase of about 10% for rainfall rate averaged within 200 km to 400 km of the storm center.
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April 15th, 2013 - Response to CO2 doubling of the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region in a High-Resolution Climate Model

The authors simulated the response of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic Hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) to a doubling of CO2, using a cutting-edge global high-resolution coupled model developed at GFDL (CM2.5). This model has been shown to produce a very faithful simulation of the observed seasonal cycle and year-to-year (or interannual) variability in the tropical Atlantic. The skillful representation of Atlantic interannual variability enables the exploration of the response of interannual variability to increasing CO2 – in addition to exploring changes in the average conditions in the Atlantic.
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March 29th, 2013 - Sensitivity of tropospheric oxidants to biomass burning emissions: implications for radiative forcing

Biomass burning is one of the largest sources of trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere, and has profound influence on tropospheric oxidants and radiative forcing. Using a fully coupled chemistry-climate model (GFDL AM3), the authors found that co-emission of trace gases and aerosol from present-day biomass burning increases the global tropospheric ozone burden by 5.1%, and decreases global mean OH, a major sink for methane, by 6.3%.
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March 4th, 2013 - Cloud tuning in a coupled climate model: impact on 20th century warming

Clouds remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in predictions from climate models. Globally, clouds cool the Earth through the net effect of two opposing contributions: cooling from reflection of incoming solar radiation and warming from trapping of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. By comparison, the cooling effect of clouds is estimated to be about six times larger than the warming effect resulting from the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases since 1750. This is why uncertainties in the representation of clouds can have considerable impact on the simulated climate.
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February 24th, 2013 - Heat stress reduces labor capacity under climate warming

The authors use existing occupational health and safety thresholds to establish a new metric to quantify a healthy, acclimated individual’s capacity to safely perform sustained labor under environmental heat stress (labor capacity). Using climate model projections, we apply this metric to quantify the direct impact of global warming on the global human population in the future.
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February 15th, 2013 - Controls of Global Snow Under a Changed Climate

Understanding snowfall variability is key to understanding future water supply in snowmelt-dominated regions, like the western U.S. This research validated GFDL’s coupled climate models, CM2.5 and CM2.1, for snowfall and explored changes in snowfall in a future climate experiment, to determine if resolution differences in the models influence snowfall signals.
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February 1st, 2013 - Contributions of Downstream Eddy Development to the Teleconnection between ENSO and the Atmospheric Circulation over the North Atlantic

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant pattern of interannual climate variability, and has strong influence on the atmospheric circulation around the globe. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is another prominent mode of interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, and exerts a strong influence on the climate of the North Atlantic basin and the surrounding land areas. The main purpose of this study is to describe and assess of the interactions between these two prominent patterns of interannual climate variability.
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January 21st, 2013 - Springtime high surface ozone events over the western United States: Quantifying the role of stratospheric intrusions

Stratosphere-to-troposphere transport of ozone is a common occurrence at mid- and high latitudes, but its influence on tropospheric ozone levels remains a long-standing question, despite decades of research. GFDL scientists and colleagues analyzed balloon soundings, lidar, surface and satellite measurements using GFDL’s new global high-resolution chemistry-climate model, to look at the extent to which naturally occurring stratospheric ozone intrusions reach the surface and affect air quality.
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