Voronoi, Delaunay, and Block-Structured Mesh Refinement for Solution of the Shallow-Water Equations on the Sphere

Weller, Hilary; Weller, Henry G.; Fournier, Aimé
December 2009
Monthly Weather Review;Dec2009, Vol. 137 Issue 12, p4208
Academic Journal
Alternative meshes of the sphere and adaptive mesh refinement could be immensely beneficial for weather and climate forecasts, but it is not clear how mesh refinement should be achieved. A finite-volume model that solves the shallow-water equations on any mesh of the surface of the sphere is presented. The accuracy and cost effectiveness of four quasi-uniform meshes of the sphere are compared: a cubed sphere, reduced latitude–longitude, hexagonal–icosahedral, and triangular–icosahedral. On some standard shallow-water tests, the hexagonal–icosahedral mesh performs best and the reduced latitude–longitude mesh performs well only when the flow is aligned with the mesh. The inclusion of a refined mesh over a disc-shaped region is achieved using either gradual Delaunay, gradual Voronoi, or abrupt 2:1 block-structured refinement. These refined regions can actually degrade global accuracy, presumably because of changes in wave dispersion where the mesh is highly nonuniform. However, using gradual refinement to resolve a mountain in an otherwise coarse mesh can improve accuracy for the same cost. The model prognostic variables are height and momentum collocated at cell centers, and (to remove grid-scale oscillations of the A grid) the mass flux between cells is advanced from the old momentum using the momentum equation. Quadratic and upwind biased cubic differencing methods are used as explicit corrections to a fast implicit solution that uses linear differencing.


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