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Title: A high-order staggered finite-element vertical discretization for non-hydrostatic atmospheric models

Atmospheric modeling systems require economical methods to solve the non-hydrostatic Euler equations. Two major differences between hydrostatic models and a full non-hydrostatic description lies in the vertical velocity tendency and numerical stiffness associated with sound waves. In this work we introduce a new arbitrary-order vertical discretization entitled the staggered nodal finite-element method (SNFEM). Our method uses a generalized discrete derivative that consistently combines the discontinuous Galerkin and spectral element methods on a staggered grid. Our combined method leverages the accurate wave propagation and conservation properties of spectral elements with staggered methods that eliminate stationary (2Δ x) modes. Furthermore, high-order accuracy also eliminates the need for a reference state to maintain hydrostatic balance. In this work we demonstrate the use of high vertical order as a means of improving simulation quality at relatively coarse resolution. We choose a test case suite that spans the range of atmospheric flows from predominantly hydrostatic to nonlinear in the large-eddy regime. Lastly, our results show that there is a distinct benefit in using the high-order vertical coordinate at low resolutions with the same robust properties as the low-order alternative.
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States). Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geoscientific Model Development (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geoscientific Model Development (Online); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1991-9603
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; step integration methods; navier-stokes equations; shallow-water equations; optimal representation; spectral element; prediction
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1268264