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GFDL Research Highlights

August 22nd, 2014 - Predicting a decadal shift in North Atlantic climate variability using the GFDL forecast system

The goals of this research were to assess the role of AMOC in global climate and identify the predictability of the associated climate impacts. Decadal prediction experiments were conducted as part of CMIP5 using a prototype GFDL-CM2.1 forecast system. The abrupt warming of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG), observed in the mid-1990s, was used as a case study to evaluate the forecast capabilities of the model, and to better understand the reasons for the observed changes.
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August 13th, 2014 - Seasonal Forecasting of Regional Tropical Cyclone Activity

Tropical cyclones (TCs, which include hurricanes and typhoons) are a major climate hazard across the Northern Hemisphere, and have exhibited variability and change on year-to-year timescales. Understanding and predicting future year-to-year TC activity is central to NOAA’s mission and highly relevant to society. Of particular relevance for decision support is predicting seasonal activity on regional spatial scales (scales smaller than the entire basin) – a goal that has remained elusive.
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July 21st, 2014 - Rapid subsurface warming and circulation changes of Antarctic coastal waters by poleward shifting winds

Projected changes in the winds circling the Antarctic may accelerate global sea level rise significantly more than previously estimated. Changes to Antarctic winds may have a profound impact on warming ocean temperatures under the ice shelves along the coastline of West and East Antarctic. Projected Antarctic wind shifts were included in a detailed global ocean model, and the authors found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures rose up to meet the base of the Antarctic ice shelves. The projected sub-surface warming is twice as large as previously estimated, on average, and it affects almost all of coastal Antarctica. This relatively warm water provides a huge reservoir of melt potential right near the grounding lines of ice shelves around Antarctica. It could lead to a massive increase in the rate of ice sheet melt, with direct consequences for global sea level rise.
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July 13th, 2014 - Regional rainfall decline in Australia attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and ozone levels

A suite of simulations, done with a new high-resolution climate model (CM2.5) developed at GFDL, were used to study the observed long-term decline of winter rainfall over parts of southern Australia. In response to anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases and reduction in stratospheric ozone, the model is able to capture many aspects of the observed drying, especially over southwest Australia. The model projects a continued decline in winter rainfall throughout the rest of the 21st century, with significant implications for regional water resources.
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June 26th, 2014 - Trajectory sensitivity of the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emission

The insensitivity of the global climate response once emissions cease in simplified coupled climate models has been used to argue for lack of committed warming based on past carbon emissions. Additional studies have also demonstrated that the cessation of carbon emissions results in a stabilization or decrease of global mean surface air temperature. Such studies generally assume either a 1%/year increase or an instantaneous doubling/quadrupling of atmospheric CO2.
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May 7th, 2014 - Contribution of Local and Remote Anthropogenic Aerosols to the 20th century Weakening of the South Asian Monsoon

The impact of the late 20th century changes of anthropogenic aerosols from local (i.e., South Asia) and remote (i.e., outside South Asia) sources on the South Asian summer monsoon is a rather unexplored topic. It has important implications for strategies to control regional pollution and understand its effect in climate. GFDL scientists investigated the impact of this change in aerosols on the South Asian monsoon. This work provides new insights into the pathway by which global anthropogenic aerosols affect long-term variations of the monsoon hydroclimate, which is still uncertain and largely debated in the scientific community.
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February 14th, 2014 - Changing Ocean may Challenge Atlantic Cod

This study uses climate projections from GFDL’s Earth system model (ESM2.1) to force an individual-based model for the larval stages of North Atlantic Cod at each of 5 cod spawning sites across the North Atlantic. The behavioral and physiological state of thousands of cod larvae is modeled in response to ESM projected physical and biological changes. The ESM-IBM coupling provides a unique means of exploring the mechanistic response of cod larvae to climate forcing.
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February 6th, 2014 - Solving the mystery of Hawaiian ozone changes

A potent greenhouse gas and biological irritant, ozone near the Earth surface is also a health-damaging air pollutant, regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Shifts in atmospheric circulation have caused Asian ozone pollution reaching Hawaii to rise unexpectedly in autumn since mid-1990s, according to this study. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience, imply that decade-long variability in climate must be considered when attributing observed ozone changes to human-induced trends in precursor emissions.
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