A semi-implicit ocean circulation model using a generalized topography-following coordinate system

Yuhe Song, Dale Haidvogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

672 Scopus citations


We introduce a new ocean circulation model featuring an improved vertical coordinate representation. This new coordinate is a generalized o-coordinate; however, it is capable of simultaneously maintaining high resolution in the surface layer as well as dealing with steep and/or tall topography. The model equations are the three-dimensional, free surface, primitive equations with orthogonal curvilinear coordinates in the horizontal and the new general coordinate in the vertical. Vertical mixing is treated implicitly by the generalized Crank-Nicolson method based on a Galerkin finite element formulation. Two alternate parameterizations of surface mixing are incorporated, based respectively on the approaches of Price, Weller, and Pinkel and Mellor and Yamada. Finally, a quadrature formula of Lagrange interpolation is employed to produce a more accurate calculation of pressure and vertical velocity. Three tests are used to demonstrate the accuracy, stability, and applicability of the model: the diurnal cycling of the surface mixed layer, flow around a tall seamount, and a regional simulation of the California current system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-244
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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