Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
9 November 2017

Implicit-Explicit (IMEX) Runge-Kutta Methods for Non-Hydrostatic Atmospheric Models



The efficient simulation of non-hydrostatic atmospheric dynamics requires time integration methods capable of overcoming the explicit stability constraints on time step size arising from acoustic waves. In this work, we investigate various implicit-explicit (IMEX) additive Runge-Kutta (ARK) methods for evolving acoustic waves implicitly to enable larger time step sizes in a global non-hydrostatic atmospheric model. The IMEX formulations considered include horizontally implicit-vertically implicit (HEVI) approaches as well as splittings that treat some horizontal dynamics implicitly. In each case, the impact of solving nonlinear systems in each implicit ARK stage in a linearly implicit fashion is also explored. The accuracy and efficiency of the IMEX splittings, ARK methods, and solver options are evaluated on a gravity wave and baroclinic wave test case. HEVI splittings that treat some vertical dynamics explicitly do not show a benefit in solution quality or run time over the most implicit HEVI formulation. While splittings that implicitly evolve some horizontal dynamics increase the maximum stable step size of a method, the gains are insufficient to overcome the additional cost of solving a globally coupled system. Solving implicit stage systems in a linearly implicit manner limits the solver cost but this is offset by a reduction in step size to achieve the desired accuracy. Overall, the third order ARS343 and ARK324 methods performed the best, followed by the second order ARS232 and ARK232 methods.
Gardner, David J., Jorge E. Guerra, Francois P. Hamon, Daniel R. Reynolds, Paul Ullrich, and Carol Woodward. 2017. “Implicit-Explicit (Imex) Runge-Kutta Methods For Non-Hydrostatic Atmospheric Models”. Geoscientific Model Development. doi:
Funding Program Area(s)