Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is a laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR).

GFDL is engaged in comprehensive long lead-time research to expand the scientific understanding of the physical processes that govern the behaviour of the atmosphere and the oceans as complex fluid systems. These systems can then be modeled mathematically and their phenomenology can be studied by computer simulation methods.

GFDL's accomplishments include the development of the first climate models to study global warming, the first comprehensive ocean prediction codes, and the first dynamical models with significant skill in hurricane track and intensity predictions. Much current research within the laboratory is focused around the development of Earth System Models for assessment of natural and human-induced climate change.

Scientific Groups

The GFDL has a diverse community of about 300 researchers, colloborators and staff, with many from Britain, India, China, Japan, France, etc. The laboratory is currently organized into several scientific groups (listed alphabetically below) as well as a large computer support group.

Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry

Current head: Dr. V. Ramaswamy

This group focuses on processes that affect the vertical structure of the atmosphere, such as convection and radiation. A particular focus is the role of aerosols in climate, both through direct effects on the radiative balance, and indirect effects on cloud physics.

Biospheric Processes

Current head: Dr. Hiram Levy

This group focuses on interactions between the physical climateand biogeochemical systems, both in the land and ocean. Development of GFDL's Earth System Model is centered in this group.

Climate Diagnostics

Current head: Dr. Gabriel Lau

This group focuses on comparing models with observations, developing observational datasets that can be compared with models, and using models to isolate key processes that regulate interannual variability in the ocean and atmosphere.

Climate Dynamics and Prediction

Current head: Dr. Tom Delworth

The largest group in the lab centers around the developmentof numerical models for predictions and projections of climateon seasonal-to-centennial time scales. Major projects include the development of El Nino predictions for seasonal forecasting, and the production of IPCC-class climate models.

Oceans and Climate

Current head: Dr. Robert Hallberg

This group focusses on the role played by the oceans in the large-scale climate system, and on developing state-of-the-art numerical codes to simulate the ocean.

Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics

Current head: Dr. Isaac Held.

This group focuses on the dynamics of the atmosphere, with particular emphasis on the interactions between waves and turbulence and the large-scale flow. Development of GFDL's hurricane model is supported from this group.


The GFDL is located at Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Princeton, NJ.

The GFDL operates various-sized SGI Altix 3700 and 4700 supercomputers with a total processor count of over 5,000. Hardware updates occur on average, every 18 months.

The GFDL has been utilizing High Performance Computing Systems for 50 years. A brief portion of that history can be found on the [ top 500 supercomputing list] .


* Joseph Smagorinsky: GFDL's first director
* Jerry Mahlman: GFDL's second director
* Ants Leetmaa: GFDL's third director
* Kirk Bryan (American Oceanographer)
* Sykoro Manabe
* Yoshio Kurihara

ee also

* Modular Ocean Model

External links

* [ National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration]
* [ NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research]
* [ Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory]
* NOAA GFDL ranking among the [ Top 500 Supercomputer Sites]

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