Seasonal-Decadal Analysis & Prediction

GMAO uses coupled Earth-System models and analyses, along with a broad range of satellite observations, to study and predict phenomena that evolve on seasonal to decadal timescales.


GMAO’s research activities include a broad scope of activities related to subseasonal to seasonal variability. These include diverse subjects such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation, the variability of monsoons and ENSO, and the hydrological and meteorological factors responsible for droughts, flooding and other extreme events. Using initialized land-atmosphere-ocean-ice states, seasonal forecasts are run on a regular basis and information is provided monthly to a variety of partners. Predictions of sea-surface temperature, precipitation, and near-surface temperatures are provided to the National Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) project, which compares and distributes seasonal forecasts of ENSO events. Since June 2013, GEOS-5 forecasts of the Arctic sea-ice distribution are provided to the Sea-Ice Outlook project.


Studies of change and variations on decadal timescales are essential for planning satellite missions that seek to improve our understanding of linkages among various components of the Earth System. Decadal predictions using a version of the GEOS-5 AOGCM were contributed to the CMIP5 project. The dataset include a three-member ensemble initialized on December 1 of each year from 1960 to 2010. These data are available, with the designation NASA GMAO, from the CMIP5 Archive at PCMDI.


NASA has a mandate to monitor changes in stratospheric ozone over the past few decades. The Chemistry-Climate Model (CCM) project was initially constructed to study stratospheric ozone, including its past changes and projections into the future. The GEOS CCM also now includes tropospheric aerosols and chemistry, providing links to NASA’s observations of air pollution. The CCM project is a collaborative venture between GMAO and the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory at GSFC.