TITLE

A New Terrain-Following Vertical Coordinate Formulation for Atmospheric Prediction Models

AUTHOR(S)
Schär, Christoph; Leuenberger, Daniel; Fuhrer, Oliver; Lüthi, Daniel; Girard, Claude
PUB. DATE
October 2002
SOURCE
Monthly Weather Review;Oct2002, Vol. 130 Issue 10, p2459
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Most numerical weather prediction models rely on a terrain-following coordinate framework. The computational mesh is thus characterized by inhomogeneities with scales determined by the underlying topography. Such inhomogeneities may affect the truncation error of numerical schemes. In this study, a new class of terrainfollowing coordinate systems for use in atmospheric prediction models is proposed. Unlike conventional systems, the new smooth level vertical (SLEVE) coordinate yields smooth coordinates at mid- and upper levels. The basic concept of the new coordinate is to employ a scale-dependent vertical decay of underlying terrain features. The decay rate is selected such that small-scale topographic variations decay much faster with height than their large-scale counterparts. This generalization implies a nonlocal coordinate transformation. The new coordinate is tested and compared against standard sigma and hybrid coordinate systems using an idealized advection test. It is demonstrated that the presence of coordinate transformations induces substantial truncation errors. These are critical for grid inhomogeneities with wavelengths smaller than approximately eight grid increments, and may overpower the regular-grid truncation error of the underlying finite-difference approximation. These results are confirmed by a theoretical analysis of the truncation error. In addition, the new coordinate is tested in idealized and real-case numerical experiments using a nonhydrostatic model. The simulations using the new coordinate yield a substantial reduction of small-scale noise in dynamical and thermodynamical model fields.
ACCESSION #
7269033

 

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