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A Variable Resolution Nonhydrostatic Global Atmospheric Semi-implicit Semi-Lagrangian Model

George Pouliot
March 29th, 2000

A Variable Resolution Nonhydrostatic Global Atmospheric Semi-implicit Semi-Lagrangian Model. (Under the direction of Dr. Fredrick H.M. Semazzi.)The objective of this project is to develop a variable-resolution finite difference adiabatic global nonhydrostatic semi-implicit semi-Lagrangian (SISL) model based on the fully compressible nonhydrostatic atmospheric equations. To achieve this goal, a three-dimensional variable resolution dynamical core was developed and tested.The main characteristics of the dynamical core can be summarized as follows: Spherical coordinates were used in a global domain. A hydrostatic/nonhydrostatic switch was incorporated into the dynamical equations to use the fully compressible atmospheric equations. A generalized horizontal variable resolution grid was developed and incorporated into the model. For a variable resolution grid, in contrast to a uniform resolution grid, the order of accuracy of finite difference approximations is formally lost but remains close to the order of accuracy associated with the uniform resolution grid provided the grid stretching is not too significant. The SISL numerical scheme was implemented for the fully compressible set of equations. In addition, the generalized minimum residual (GMRES) method with restart and preconditioner was used to solve the three-dimensional elliptic equation derived from the discretized system of equations. The three-dimensional momentum equation was integrated in vector-form to incorporate the metric terms in the calculations of the trajectories. Using global re-analysis data for a specific test case, the model was compared to similar SISL models previously developed. Reasonable agreement between the model and the other independently developed models was obtained. The Held-Suarez test for dynamical cores was used for a long integration and the model was successfully integrated for up to 1200 days. Idealized topography was used to test the variable resolution component of the model. Nonhydrostatic effects were simulated at grid spacings of 400 meters with idealized topography and uniform flow. Using a high-resolution topographic data set and the variable resolution grid, sets of experiments with increasing resolution were performed over specific regions of interest. Using realistic initial conditions derived from re-analysis fields, nonhydrostatic effects were significant for grid spacings on the order of 0.1 degrees with orographic forcing. If the model code was adapted for use in a message passing interface (MPI) on a parallel supercomputer today, it was estimated that a global grid spacing of 0.1 degrees would be achievable for a global model. In this case, nonhydrostatic effects would be significant for most areas.A variable resolution grid in a global model provides a unified and flexible approach to many climate and numerical weather prediction problems. The ability to configure the model from very fine to very coarse resolutions allows for the simulation of atmospheric phenomena at different scales using the same code. We have developed a dynamical core illustrating the feasibility of using a variable resolution in a global model.

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