Design of a Nonhydrostatic Atmospheric Model Based on a Generalized Vertical Coordinate

Michael D. Toy, David A. Randall
2009 Monthly Weather Review  
The isentropic system of equations has particular advantages in the numerical modeling of weather and climate. These include the elimination of the vertical velocity in adiabatic flow, which simplifies the motion to a two-dimensional problem and greatly reduces the numerical errors associated with vertical advection. The mechanism for the vertical transfer of horizontal momentum is simply the pressure drag acting on isentropic coordinate surfaces under frictionless, adiabatic conditions. In
more » ... tion, vertical resolution is enhanced in regions of high static stability, which leads to better resolution of features such as the tropopause. Negative static stability and isentropic overturning frequently occur in finescale atmospheric motion. This presents a challenge to nonhydrostatic modeling with the isentropic vertical coordinate. This paper presents a new nonhydrostatic atmospheric model based on a generalized vertical coordinate. The coordinate is specified in a manner similar to that of Konor and Arakawa, but "arbitrary Eulerian-Lagrangian" (ALE) methods are used to maintain coordinate monotonicity in regions of negative static stability and to return the coordinate surfaces to their isentropic "targets" in statically stable regions. The model is mass conserving and implements a vertical differencing scheme that satisfies two additional integral constraints for the limiting case of z coordinates. The hybrid vertical coordinate model is tested with mountain-wave experiments including a downslope windstorm with breaking gravity waves. The results show that the advantages of the isentropic coordinate are realized in the model with regard to vertical tracer and momentum transport. Also, the isentropic overturning associated with the wave breaking is successfully handled by the coordinate formulation.
doi:10.1175/2009mwr2834.1 fatcat:gjr7kfkl25bcfco5ta3qtb5yr4