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A high-order arbitrarily unstructured finite-volume model of the global atmosphere: tests solving the shallow-water equations

By Hilary Weller, Henry G. Weller and OpenCFD Limited

Abstract

Simulations of the global atmosphere for weather and climate forecasting require fast and accurate solutions and so operational models use high-order finite differences on regular structured grids. This precludes the use of local refinement; techniques allowing local refinement are either expensive (eg. high-order finite element techniques) or have reduced accuracy at changes in resolution (eg. unstructured finite-volume with linear differencing).\ud \ud We present solutions of the shallow-water equations for westerly flow over a mid-latitude mountain from a finite-volume model written using OpenFOAM. A second/third-order accurate differencing scheme is applied on arbitrarily unstructured meshes made up of various shapes and refinement patterns. The results are as accurate as equivalent resolution spectral methods. Using lower order differencing reduces accuracy at a refinement pattern which allows errors from refinement of the mountain to accumulate and reduces the global accuracy over a 15 day simulation. We have therefore introduced a scheme which fits a 2D cubic polynomial approximately on a stencil around each cell. Using this scheme means that refinement of the mountain improves the accuracy after a 15 day simulation.\ud \ud This is a more severe test of local mesh refinement for global simulations than has been presented but a realistic test if these techniques are to be used operationally. These efficient, high-order schemes may make it possible for local mesh refinement to be used by weather and climate forecast models

Topics: 551
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:1148
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