Damping Characteristics of Horizontal Laplacian Diffusion Filters

Joseph B. Klemp National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Horizontally diffusive computational damping terms are frequently employed in 3D atmospheric simulation models to enhance stability and to suppress small-scale noise. In configuring these filters, it is desirable that damping effects are concentrated on the smaller-scale disturbances close to the grid scale and that the dissipation is spatially isotropic. On Cartesian meshes, the isotropy of the damping can vary greatly depending on the numerical formulation of the horizontal filter. The most isotropic behavior appears to result from recursive application of a 2D Laplacian that combines both along-axis and diagonal contributions. Also, the recursive application of 1D Laplacians in each coordinate direction provides better isotropy than the recursive application of the 2D Laplacian represented with a five-point operator. Increased isotropy also permits a larger maximum diffusivity, which may be beneficial in certain filter applications. On hexagonal and triangular meshes, Laplacian operators exhibit excellent isotropy, owing to the more isotropic nature of the meshes. However, previous research has established that straightforward application of the Laplacian may yield a diffusion operator that damps both resolved physical modes and unresolved high-wavenumber (aliased) modes, but it does not converge to the proper analytic behavior. Special averaging is then required to recover an accurate representation for the Laplacian. A consequence of this averaging is that the resulting filters do not act on the aliased modes (the checkerboard mode in particular) and thus employing the unaveraged diffusion operators may be preferable. The damping characteristics and stability constraints are derived for both the unaveraged and averaged Laplacian filters for C-grid staggering on these meshes.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: J. B. Klemp, klemp@ucar.edu

Abstract

Horizontally diffusive computational damping terms are frequently employed in 3D atmospheric simulation models to enhance stability and to suppress small-scale noise. In configuring these filters, it is desirable that damping effects are concentrated on the smaller-scale disturbances close to the grid scale and that the dissipation is spatially isotropic. On Cartesian meshes, the isotropy of the damping can vary greatly depending on the numerical formulation of the horizontal filter. The most isotropic behavior appears to result from recursive application of a 2D Laplacian that combines both along-axis and diagonal contributions. Also, the recursive application of 1D Laplacians in each coordinate direction provides better isotropy than the recursive application of the 2D Laplacian represented with a five-point operator. Increased isotropy also permits a larger maximum diffusivity, which may be beneficial in certain filter applications. On hexagonal and triangular meshes, Laplacian operators exhibit excellent isotropy, owing to the more isotropic nature of the meshes. However, previous research has established that straightforward application of the Laplacian may yield a diffusion operator that damps both resolved physical modes and unresolved high-wavenumber (aliased) modes, but it does not converge to the proper analytic behavior. Special averaging is then required to recover an accurate representation for the Laplacian. A consequence of this averaging is that the resulting filters do not act on the aliased modes (the checkerboard mode in particular) and thus employing the unaveraged diffusion operators may be preferable. The damping characteristics and stability constraints are derived for both the unaveraged and averaged Laplacian filters for C-grid staggering on these meshes.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: J. B. Klemp, klemp@ucar.edu
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