Quasi-Monotone Advection Schemes Based on Explicit Locally Adaptive Dissipation

Alexander F. Shchepetkin Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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James C. McWilliams Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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Abstract

The authors develop and test computational methods for advection of a scalar field that also include a minimal dissipation of its variance in order to preclude the formation of false extrema. Both of these properties are desirable for advectively dominated geophysical flows, where the relevant scalars are both potential vorticity and material concentrations. These methods are based upon the sequential application of two types of operators: 1) a conservative and nondissipative (i.e., preserving first and second spatial moments of the scalar field), directionally symmetric advection operator with a relatively high order of spatial accuracy; and 2) a locally adaptive correction operator of lower spatial accuracy that eliminates false extrema and causes dissipation. During this correction phase the provisional distribution of the advected quantity is checked against the previous distribution, in order to detect places where the previous values were overshot, and thus to compute the excess. Then an iterative diffusion procedure is applied to the excess field in order to achieve approximate monotone behavior of the solution.

In addition to the traditional simple flow tests, we have made long-term simulations of freely evolving two-dimensional turbulent flow in order to compare the performance of the proposed technique with that of previously known algorithms, such as UTOPIA and FCT. This is done for both advection of vorticity and passive scalar. Unlike the simple test flows, the turbulent flow provides nonlinear cascades of quadratic moments of the advected quantities toward small scales, which eventually cannot be resolved on the fixed grid and therefore must be dissipated. Thus, not only the ability of the schemes to produce accurate shape-preserving advection, but also their ability to simulate subgrid-scale dissipation are being compared. It is demonstrated that locally adaptive algorithms designed to avoid oscillatory behavior in the vicinity of steep gradients of the advected scalars may result in overall less dissipation, yet give a locally accurate and physically meaningful solution, whereas algorithms with built-in hyperdiffusion (i.e., those traditionally used for direct simulation of turbulent flows) tend to produce a locally unsufficient and, at the same time, globally excessive amount of dissipation. Finally, the authors assess the practial trade-offs required for large models among the competing attributes of accuracy, extrema preservation, minimal dissipation (e.g., appropriate to large Reynolds numbers), and computational cost.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Alexander F. Shchepetkin, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 3845 Slichter Hall, Box 951567, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567.

Email: alex@atmos.ucla.edu

Abstract

The authors develop and test computational methods for advection of a scalar field that also include a minimal dissipation of its variance in order to preclude the formation of false extrema. Both of these properties are desirable for advectively dominated geophysical flows, where the relevant scalars are both potential vorticity and material concentrations. These methods are based upon the sequential application of two types of operators: 1) a conservative and nondissipative (i.e., preserving first and second spatial moments of the scalar field), directionally symmetric advection operator with a relatively high order of spatial accuracy; and 2) a locally adaptive correction operator of lower spatial accuracy that eliminates false extrema and causes dissipation. During this correction phase the provisional distribution of the advected quantity is checked against the previous distribution, in order to detect places where the previous values were overshot, and thus to compute the excess. Then an iterative diffusion procedure is applied to the excess field in order to achieve approximate monotone behavior of the solution.

In addition to the traditional simple flow tests, we have made long-term simulations of freely evolving two-dimensional turbulent flow in order to compare the performance of the proposed technique with that of previously known algorithms, such as UTOPIA and FCT. This is done for both advection of vorticity and passive scalar. Unlike the simple test flows, the turbulent flow provides nonlinear cascades of quadratic moments of the advected quantities toward small scales, which eventually cannot be resolved on the fixed grid and therefore must be dissipated. Thus, not only the ability of the schemes to produce accurate shape-preserving advection, but also their ability to simulate subgrid-scale dissipation are being compared. It is demonstrated that locally adaptive algorithms designed to avoid oscillatory behavior in the vicinity of steep gradients of the advected scalars may result in overall less dissipation, yet give a locally accurate and physically meaningful solution, whereas algorithms with built-in hyperdiffusion (i.e., those traditionally used for direct simulation of turbulent flows) tend to produce a locally unsufficient and, at the same time, globally excessive amount of dissipation. Finally, the authors assess the practial trade-offs required for large models among the competing attributes of accuracy, extrema preservation, minimal dissipation (e.g., appropriate to large Reynolds numbers), and computational cost.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Alexander F. Shchepetkin, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 3845 Slichter Hall, Box 951567, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567.

Email: alex@atmos.ucla.edu

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