Research in the GMAO emphasizes the use of satellite observations in global modeling systems, comprised of atmosphere, ocean, land-surface, and biogeochemistry model components. These components are integrated for assimilation and forecast systems to address questions about climate variability, water and energy budgets, composition, and weather and climate prediction; to form an integrated Earth system analysis; and to contribute to the design of future satellite missions.

Details about refereed scientific papers published by the GMAO staff are compiled on our GMAO Publications page.

This page lists titles and links to GMAO Research Highlights. These writeups are summaries of selected GMAO scientific research activities.


thumbnail of figure graphic Sensitivity of Tropical Cyclones to Parameterized Convection in the GEOS-5 Model [9.19.2014 ]
This study demonstrates that realistic Tropical Cyclone activity can be simulated in GCMs with a resolution of about 25km and that modifications to the convective parametrization can lead to further improvements in the realism of the TCs.

» Read More.

thumbnail of figure graphic Interannual Variation in Phytoplankton Primary Production at a Global Scale [9.11.2014 ]
The contributions of four phytoplankton groups to the total primary production are computed using the GMAO’s "NASA Ocean Biology Model." The work isolates the effects of climate variability on group-specific primary production using global and regional climate indices.

» Read More.

thumbnail of figure graphic High-resolution GEOS-5 simulations of stratospheric ozone intrusions [ 2.14.2014 ]
A 25-km resolution version of GEOS-5 has been used with a comprehensive stratosphere-troposphere chemistry module to test the feasibility of detecting the impacts of stratospheric ozone intrusions on surface air quality.

» Read More.


thumbnail of figure graphic Verifying GEOS-5 sulfur dioxide simulations [9.19.2013 ]
The Frostburg field campaign in November 2010 provided the opportunity to evaluate the simulation of SO2 and sulfate aerosols in GEOS-5.

» Read More.

thumbnail of figure graphic Sea Surface Temperatures, Heat, and Drought in the U.S. [8.12.2013 ]
The GMAO has conducted a series of experiments to determine what role, if any, SST anomalies played in forcing the extreme drought and heat waves experienced over the U.S. during the summers of 2011 and 2012.

» Read More.

thumbnail of figure graphic Quantifying Improvements to Streamflow Forecasts Stemming from Improved Soil Moisture Observations [ 7.2.2013 ]
The GMAO has conducted simulations to quantify the positive impacts that the soil moisture information provided by SMAP will have on streamflow forecasts.

» Read More.

thumbnail of figure graphic GEOS-5 contributions to the National Multi-Model Ensemble [ 3.25.2013 ]
The GMAO is an integral part of the National Multi-Model Ensemble project, an effort to improve intra-seasonal-to-interannual climate forecasting.

» Read more..

thumbnail of figure graphic Simulating the Transport of Aerosols with GEOS-5 [ 2.27.2013 ]
The GMAO has conducted high resolution GEOS-5 simulations of tropospheric aerosols transported around the globe.

» Read more and view simulation results.

thumbnail of figure graphic GEOS-5 Successfully Predicts Stratospheric Sudden Warming Event [ 1.30.2013 ]
The GMAO's near-real-time meteorological analyses and weather forecasts with GEOS-5 successfully predicted the major stratospheric sudden warming event of January 2013.

» Read a discussion and initial analysis of this event.


thumbnail of figure graphic Tracking Hurricanes with GEOS-5
The GEOS-5 atmospheric model and assimilation analyses are used every day to generate 5-day weather forecasts. One view of GEOS-5 performance is provided from the forecasts of two of the most destructive storms of the 2012 hurricane season: Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy.

thumbnail of figure graphic Attributing the 2010 Russian Heat Wave
The GMAO used GEOS-5 and MERRA to investigate the driving forces behind a major heat wave that occurred in western Russia in the summer of 2010 and to assess the predictability of such events.

thumbnail of figure graphic Drought in the United States
The GMAO engages in research to understand drought and its predictability. GEOS-5 and MERRA have been used to examine drought in the U.S. in 2011 and 2012. In investigating the processes that control drought, the GMAO strives to improve the forecasting of drought on seasonal time scales.

thumbnail of fig. 1a Assessing Observation Impacts in NWP: Atmospheric Motion Vector Winds
Observation impacts on weather forecasts: Atmospheric motion vector winds (AMVs) have a high impact on Navy weather forecasts, but only a modest impact on GEOS-5 forecasts. Recent investigation has focused on determining why this is the case.


thumbnail of fig. 1a GMAO article in GRL on how active and passive microwave data improve soil moisture estimates is highlighted in EOS
The paper, by Draper and colleagues, shows that assimilating satellite observations from active or passive microwave sensors into models can improve soil moisture estimates. The authors assimilated soil moisture derived from the active ASCAT and passive AMSR-E satellite sensors into a land surface model and assessed the resulting soil moisture estimates against in situ observations from 85 sites in the United States and Australia. They found that the active and passive microwave data both improved the model's soil moisture estimates in similar ways. Following the recent failure of AMSR-E, the new study shows that systems designed to assimilate AMSR-E soil moisture can switch to ASCAT data without loss of accuracy.


thumbnail of fig. 1a Assimilation of Terrestrial Water Storage from GRACE in a Snow-dominated Basin
In a recent study, gravimetric measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission are used in a land surface model data assimilation framework to better characterize snow conditions in the Mackenzie River basin located in northern Canada. The assimilation of GRACE terrestrial water storage information into the Catchment land surface model improves snow mass estimates.

Plot of Arctic BrOx GEOS-5 Model used to interpret measurements of atmospheric bromine
Simulations of trace gases in GEOS-5 have been used to interpret atmospheric bromine measurements from NASA's OMI instrument and from aircraft in the ARCTAS field campaign. The work was led by Professor Ross Salawitch at the University of Maryland, and is featured in a Geophysics Research Letters Editor's highlight and on the cover of the November 16, 2010, issue of GRL.


thumbnail of Indonesian aerosols Impact of 2006 Biomass burning aerosols on tropical dynamics studied with GEOS-5
A new study uses the Goddard Earth Observing System, Version 5 (GEOS-5) atmospheric general circulation model to study the impact of aerosols produced by the 2006 Indonesian fires on atmospheric temperature, moisture, and circulation in the region.


thumbnail of GEOS-5 CloudSat figure GEOS-5 - CloudSat Intercomparisons · Aug. 2008
A new study utilizes global analyses of the atmosphere obtained from the new GEOS-5 Data Assimilation System (DAS) developed for GMAO's Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) to examine the relationships between cloud parameters observed by the CloudSat satellite and predictors of convective cloud structure derived from MERRA reanalyses.

» Read About This Study


CAPPI Reflectivity ThumbConvective Transport of Trace Gases · Nov. 2007
Modeled transport of CO and CO2 is used to evaluate parameterizations in GEOS-5 and to identify which parameters have the greatest impact on trace gas transport in three different storms.

» Read More

OzoneThumbMultimodel Projections of Stratospheric Ozone in the 21st Century · Sep. 2007
Simulations from eleven coupled chemistry-climate models (CCMs) employing nearly identical forcings have been used to project the evolution of stratospheric ozone throughout the 21st century.

» Read More

SEIKThumbImproving Estimates of Surface Chlorophyll by Assimilation of SeaWiFS Data · May 07
Daily, global surface chlorophyll values for 1998 to 2004 have been estimated by assimilation of SeaWiFS data into the NASA Ocean Biogeochemical Model.

» Read More

ClimateThumb20th Century Climate Variations in Observations and Reanalyses · Apr. 2007
To study global warming trends and the pan-decadal variability (PDV) in the Pacific, the dominating ENSO signal is removed first. After we do this, our investigations of observations and reanalysis datasets show that the warming in the Pacific basin is weaker than surrounding basins and that one of several PDV regime shifts occurred during the 1990s.

» Read More

OSSEthumbThe Use of an OSSE to Estimate Characteristics of Analysis Error · Mar. 2007
A new application of OSSEs shows great promise for helping to answer fundamental questions about atmospheric analysis techniques, observation instruments, and forecast skill measures.

» Read More

GSIthumbObservation Sensitivity Calculations Using the Adjoint of the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) Analysis System · Mar. 2007
GMAO scientists have developed a new formulation of the GEOS-5 atmospheric data assimilation system to understand and improve the way observations are used in weather and climate forecasts.

» Read More

SVthumbDominant modes of instabilities in the stratosphere · Mar. 2007
GMAO scientists use GEOS-5 to examine the leading modes of weather instability in the stratosphere to help provide insight into observed stratospheric dynamical phenomena.

» Read More

DSthumbImpact of Deep Soil Temperatures on the Atmosphere · Mar. 2007
AGCM studies show that interactive deep soil temperatures significantly increase surface air temperature variability but reduce the variability of the hydrological cycle.

» Read More