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Publication Date
1 January 2023

Storm Surge Modeling as an Application of Local Time‐Stepping in MPAS‐Ocean



This paper presents the first practical application of local time-stepping (LTS) schemes in the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Ocean (MPAS-O). We use LTS schemes in a single-layer, global ocean model that predicts the storm surge around the eastern coast of the United States during Hurricane Sandy. The variable-resolution meshes used are of unprecedentedly high resolution in MPAS-O, containing cells as small as 125 m wide in Delaware Bay. It is shown that a particular, third-order LTS scheme (LTS3) produces sea-surface height solutions that are of comparable quality to solutions produced by the classical four-stage, fourth-order Runge-Kutta method (RK4) with a uniform time step on the same meshes. Furthermore, LTS3 is up to 35% faster in the best cases considered, where the number of cells using the coarse time-step relative to those using the fine time-step is as low as 1:1. This shows that LTS schemes are viable for use in MPAS-O with the added benefit of substantially less computational cost. The results of these performance experiments inform us of the requirements for efficient mesh design and configuration of LTS regions for LTS schemes. In particular, we see that for LTS to be efficient on a given mesh, it is important to have enough cells using the coarse time-step relative to those using the fine time-step, typically at least 1:5 to see an increase in performance.

Lilly, Jeremy R., Giacomo Capodaglio, Mark R. Petersen, Steven R. Brus, Darren Engwirda, and Robert L. Higdon. 2023. “Storm Surge Modeling As An Application Of Local Time‐Stepping In Mpas‐Ocean”. Journal Of Advances In Modeling Earth Systems 15 (1). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2022ms003327.
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