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GFDL Research Highlights

April 22nd, 2020 - Tropical Cyclone Motion in a Changing Climate

There is intense public and scientific interest in the question of whether slowly moving and highly destructive hurricanes, such as Harvey (2017), Florence (2018), and Dorian (2019), could become much more common with climate change. Using high-resolution large ensemble simulations, the authors investigated whether future anthropogenic warming could lead to a significant slowing of hurricane motion, and whether the observed trends of hurricane motion during past decades could be attributed to anthropogenic forcing. Read More…

April 20th, 2020 - Vegetation feedbacks during drought exacerbate ozone air pollution extremes in Europe

Ground-level ozone exposure harms human and plant health, especially on hot summer days when pollution from cars and power plants fuels ozone formation. Due to regulatory changes, emissions of ozone precursors have been reduced markedly in Europe, yet ozone pollution episodes have not decreased satisfactorily in recent decades. The authors show that slow progress towards improving ozone air quality in Europe can be partly explained by declining rates of ozone removal by water-stressed vegetation in response to climate warming. Read More…

April 10th, 2020 - SPEAR – The Next Generation GFDL Modeling System for Seasonal to Multidecadal Prediction and Projection

The models in use at GFDL for seasonal-to-decadal prediction have performed very well but are built off rather old model physics and other components. A multi-year effort was undertaken to build a next-generation seasonal-to-decadal prediction system that took advantage of many recent modeling advancements. This effort culminated in a new modeling system called the “Seamless system for Prediction and EArth system Research” (SPEAR). Read More…

February 11th, 2020 - Changes in extreme precipitation and landslides over High Mountain Asia

High Mountain Asia is home to both monsoonal rains and the largest concentration of glaciers outside the North and South Poles. With climate change, heavy rainfall will increase, especially in mountains near glaciers and glacial lakes. This will make landslides more likely and could present new hazards of landslides releasing a wall of water from glacial lakes, impacting communities and infrastructure located downstream. Read More…

January 10th, 2020 - Investigation of the global methane budget over 1980-2017 using GFDL-AM4.1

Changes in atmospheric methane abundance have implications for both chemistry and climate, as methane is both a strong greenhouse gas and an important precursor for tropospheric ozone. The global network of methane surface observations over the past 3-4 decades indicates that methane went through a period of rapid growth from the 1980s to 1990s, nearly stabilized from 1999 to 2006, and then renewed its rapid growth. Read More…

January 7th, 2020 - Impacts of Extratropical Weather Perturbations on Tropical Cyclone Activity: Idealized Sensitivity Experiments with a Regional Atmospheric Model

Recent observational studies suggested that Atlantic hurricane activity is strongly affected by weather processes outside of the tropics, but modeling studies reported divergent findings regarding the importance of such an impact. Using a regional atmospheric model with imposed boundary conditions, the authors conducted idealized experiments to explore whether and how extratropical weather perturbations affect Atlantic hurricane activity. Read More…

November 6th, 2019 - Structure and Performance of GFDL’s CM4.0 Climate Model

This paper describes the GFDL’s latest multi-purpose atmosphere-ocean coupled climate model, CM4.0. It consists of GFDL’s newest atmosphere and land models at about 100 km horizontal resolution, and ocean and sea ice models at roughly 25 km horizontal resolution. A handful of standard experiments have been conducted with CM4.0 for participation in the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6), an archive of climate model results utilized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the climate research community more generally. Read More…

November 4th, 2019 - On the Mechanisms of the Active 2018 Tropical Cyclone Season in the North Pacific

The 2018 tropical cyclone (TC) season in the North Pacific was very active, with 39 tropical storms including 8 typhoons/hurricanes. Unlike the typical limitations in skill of seasonal predictions made before April initial forecasts, the active 2018 TC season was successfully predicted by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory Forecast-oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) global coupled model 3–5 months in advance (i.e., successful predictions from 1 February 2018). Read More…

October 1st, 2019 - Rising temperatures increase importance of oceanic evaporation as a source for continental precipitation

In many parts of the world, water resources for humans and ecosystems are heavily dependent on precipitation. Terrestrial precipitation is fed by moisture originating as evaporation from oceans and from recycling of water evaporated from continental sources. Understanding the vulnerability of regional precipitation to changing climatic conditions and to changing land cover conditions is of critical importance to society. Read More…

September 6th, 2019 - Hurricane Model Development at GFDL: A Collaborative Success Story from a Historical Perspective

In 1970, a new hurricane project was established at GFDL to perform basic hurricane research using numerical modeling. Within a few years, this pioneering research had led to the development of a new hurricane model. As the reputation of the model grew, GFDL was approached in 1986 by the director of the National Meteorological Center to establish a collaboration between the two Federal organizations to transition the model into an operational modeling system. After a multi-year effort by GFDL scientists to develop a system that could support rigorous requirements of operations, and multi-year testing had demonstrated its superior performance compared to existing guidance products, the model became operational in 1995. Through additional collaborations between GFDL and the U.S. Navy, the model was also made operational at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in 1996. Read More…

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