A semi-spectral primitive equation ocean circulation model using vertical sigma and orthogonal curvilinear horizontal coordinates

Dale Haidvogel, John Wilkin, Roberta Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

203 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We describe a new diabatic primitive equation model for studying regional and basin-scale ocean circulation processes. The model features coordinate transformations that efficiently incorporate moderately irregular basin geometries and large variations in bottom topography, and permits the inclusion of both thermal and wind forcing. A novel semi-spectral solution procedure, in which the vertical structure of the model variables is represented as a finite sum of user-specifiable structure functions (e.g., Chebyshev polynomials), provides faster-than-algebraic convergence of the vertical approximation scheme. Model performance is assessed on a variety of test problems drawn from coastal and large-scale oceanography including unforced, linear wave propagation in both regular and irregular geometries; non-linear flow over rough bottom topography; and eddy/mean flow interaction in a wind-driven, midlatitude ocean basin. Computational efficiency of the model is found to be comparable to other existing primitive equation ocean models despite the utilization of the higher order spectral methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-185
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

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primitive equations
oceans
topography
Topography
oceanography
ocean models
spectral methods
coordinate transformations
temperate regions
Flow interactions
Oceanography
geometry
Geometry
wave propagation
Computational efficiency
polynomials
Wave propagation
inclusions
vortices
Polynomials

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this

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N2 - We describe a new diabatic primitive equation model for studying regional and basin-scale ocean circulation processes. The model features coordinate transformations that efficiently incorporate moderately irregular basin geometries and large variations in bottom topography, and permits the inclusion of both thermal and wind forcing. A novel semi-spectral solution procedure, in which the vertical structure of the model variables is represented as a finite sum of user-specifiable structure functions (e.g., Chebyshev polynomials), provides faster-than-algebraic convergence of the vertical approximation scheme. Model performance is assessed on a variety of test problems drawn from coastal and large-scale oceanography including unforced, linear wave propagation in both regular and irregular geometries; non-linear flow over rough bottom topography; and eddy/mean flow interaction in a wind-driven, midlatitude ocean basin. Computational efficiency of the model is found to be comparable to other existing primitive equation ocean models despite the utilization of the higher order spectral methods.

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