An Idealized Comparison of One-Way and Two-Way Grid Nesting

Harris, Lucas M.; Durran, Dale R.
June 2010
Monthly Weather Review;Jun2010, Vol. 138 Issue 6, p2174
Academic Journal
Most mesoscale models can be run with either one-way (parasitic) or two-way (interactive) grid nesting. This paper presents results from a linear 1D shallow-water model to determine whether the choice of nesting method can have a significant impact on the solution. Two-way nesting was found to be generally superior to one-way nesting. The only situation in which one-way nesting performs better than two-way is when very poorly resolved waves strike the nest boundary. A simple filter is proposed for use exclusively on the coarse-grid values within the sponge zone of an otherwise conventional sponge boundary condition (BC). The two-way filtered sponge BC gives better results than any of the other methods considered in these tests. Results for all wavelengths were found to be robust to other changes in the formulation of the sponge boundary, particularly with the width of the sponge layer. The increased reflection for longer-wavelength disturbances in the one-way case is due to a phase difference between the coarse- and nested-grid solutions at the nested-grid boundary that accumulates because of the difference in numerical phase speeds between the grids. Reflections for two-way nesting may be estimated from the difference in numerical group velocities between the coarse and nested grids, which only becomes large for waves that are poorly resolved on the coarse grid.


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