Semi-Lagrangian Advection on a Gaussian Grid

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  • 1 Recherche en prévision numérique, Service de l'Environnement Atmosphérique, Dorval, Québec, Canada H9P 1J3
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Abstract

The treatment of advection is related to the stability, accuracy and efficiency of models used in numerical weather prediction. In order to remain stable, conventional Eulerian advection schemes must respect a Courant-Friedrichs-Lewy (CFL) criterion, which limits the size of the time step that can be used in conjunction with a given spatial resolution.

In recent years, tests with gridpoint models have shown that semi-Lagrangian schemes permit the use of large time steps (roughly three to six times those permitted by the CFL criterion for the corresponding Eulerian models), without reducing the accuracy of the forecasts. This leads to improved model efficiency, since fewer steps are needed to complete the forecast.

Can similar results be achieved in spectral models? This paper examines the semi-Lagrangian treatment of advection on the Gaussian grid used in spectral models. Interpolating and noninterpolating versions of the semi-Lagrangian scheme are applied to the problem of solid body rotation on the globe, and their performance is compared with that of an Eulerian spectral treatment. It is shown that the semi-Lagrangian models produce stable, accurate integrations using time steps that far exceed the CFL limit for the Eulerian spectral model.

Abstract

The treatment of advection is related to the stability, accuracy and efficiency of models used in numerical weather prediction. In order to remain stable, conventional Eulerian advection schemes must respect a Courant-Friedrichs-Lewy (CFL) criterion, which limits the size of the time step that can be used in conjunction with a given spatial resolution.

In recent years, tests with gridpoint models have shown that semi-Lagrangian schemes permit the use of large time steps (roughly three to six times those permitted by the CFL criterion for the corresponding Eulerian models), without reducing the accuracy of the forecasts. This leads to improved model efficiency, since fewer steps are needed to complete the forecast.

Can similar results be achieved in spectral models? This paper examines the semi-Lagrangian treatment of advection on the Gaussian grid used in spectral models. Interpolating and noninterpolating versions of the semi-Lagrangian scheme are applied to the problem of solid body rotation on the globe, and their performance is compared with that of an Eulerian spectral treatment. It is shown that the semi-Lagrangian models produce stable, accurate integrations using time steps that far exceed the CFL limit for the Eulerian spectral model.

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