Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Capturing Multiscale Phenomena via Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) in 2D and 3D Atmospheric Flows

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 08:00
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Extreme atmospheric events such as tropical cyclones are inherently complex multiscale phenomena. Such phenomena are a challenge to simulate in conventional atmosphere models, which typically use rather coarse uniform-grid resolutions. To enable study of these systems, Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) can provide sufficient local resolution by dynamically placing high-resolution grid patches selectively over user-defined features of interest, such as a developing cyclone, while limiting the total computational burden of requiring such high-resolution globally. This work explores the use of AMR with a high-order, non-hydrostatic, finite-volume dynamical core, which uses the Chombo AMR library to implement refinement in both space and time on a cubed-sphere grid. The characteristics of the AMR approach are demonstrated via a series of idealized 2D and 3D test cases designed to mimic atmospheric dynamics and multiscale flows. In particular, new shallow-water test cases with forcing mechanisms are introduced to mimic the strengthening of tropical cyclone-like vortices and to include simplified moisture and convection processes. The forced shallow-water experiments quantify the improvements gained from AMR grids, assess how well transient features are preserved across grid boundaries, and determine effective refinement criteria. In addition, results from idealized 3D test cases are shown to characterize the accuracy and stability of the non-hydrostatic 3D AMR dynamical core.

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