Block-Structured Adaptive Grids on the Sphere: Advection Experiments

C. Jablonowski     M. Herzog      J. Penner     R. Oehmke    Q.F. Stout     B. van Leer     K.G. Powell
University of Michigan


Abstract: Adaptive mesh refinement is utilized for atmospheric modeling, applied to an advection algorithm built upon an oscillation-free finite-volume discretization in flux form. The AMR design is based on two modules, a block-structured data layout and a newly developed AMR grid library for parallel computer architectures. The latter defines and manages the adaptive blocks in spherical geometry, provides user interfaces for interpolation routines and supports the communication and load-balancing aspects for parallel applications.

The adaptive grid simulations are guided by user-defined adaptation criteria. The model is tested using a standard shallow water test case which transports a cosine bell around the sphere. It is shown that the cosine bell is reliably detected and tracked with high-resolution grids that are steered by a geopotential-based threshold criterion. Thus it seems that the AMR design is a viable option for atmospheric transport schemes with further potential for non-linear atmospheric flow solvers.

The initial gridding is based upon a reduced grid, where there are fewer grid cells near the poles. This can be viewed as a static form of adaptation, and may be a viable approach for climate modeling, for which dynamically adaptive grids would not be suitable.

Keywords: advection, atmospheric modeling, spherical adaptive blocks, spherical grid, parallel computing, adaptive mesh refinement

Complete paper. This appears in Monthly Weather Review 134 (2006), pp. 3691-3713.


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