An Immersed Boundary Method for the Weather Research and Forecasting Model

Lundquist, Katherine A.; Chow, Fotini Katopodes; Lundquist, Julie K.
March 2010
Monthly Weather Review;Mar2010, Vol. 138 Issue 3, p796
Academic Journal
This paper describes an immersed boundary method that facilitates the explicit resolution of complex terrain within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Mesoscale models, such as WRF, are increasingly used for high-resolution simulations, particularly in complex terrain, but errors associated with terrain-following coordinates degrade the accuracy of the solution. The use of an alternative-gridding technique, known as an immersed boundary method, alleviates coordinate transformation errors and eliminates restrictions on terrain slope that currently limit mesoscale models to slowly varying terrain. Simulations are presented for canonical cases with shallow terrain slopes, and comparisons between simulations with the native terrain-following coordinates and those using the immersed boundary method show excellent agreement. Validation cases demonstrate the ability of the immersed boundary method to handle both Dirichlet and Neumann boundary conditions. Additionally, realistic surface forcing can be provided at the immersed boundary by atmospheric physics parameterizations, which are modified to include the effects of the immersed terrain. Using the immersed boundary method, the WRF model is capable of simulating highly complex terrain, as demonstrated by a simulation of flow over an urban skyline.


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