A generalized form of the second-order van Leer transport scheme is derived. Several constraints to the implied subgrid linear distribution are discussed. A very simple positive-definite scheme can be derived directly from the generalized form. A monotonic version of the scheme is applied to the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres (GLA) general circulation model (GCM) for the moisture transport calculations, replacing the original fourth-order center-differencing scheme. Comparisons with the original scheme are made in idealized tests as well as in a summer climate simulation using the full GLA GCM. A distinct advantage of the monotonic transport scheme is its ability to transport sharp gradients without producing spurious oscillations and unphysical negative mixing ratio. Within the context of low-resolution climate simulations, the aforementioned characteristics are demonstrated to be very beneficial in regions where cumulus convection is active. The model-produced precipitation pattern using the new transport scheme is more coherently organized both in time and in space, and correlates better with observations. The side effect of the filling algorithm used in conjunction with the original scheme is also discussed, in the context of idealized tests.
The major weakness of the proposed transport scheme with a local monotonic constraint is its substantial implicit diffusion at low resolution. Alternative constraints are discussed to counter this problem.