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FVM 1.0: a nonhydrostatic finite-volume dynamical core for IFS

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posted on 30.01.2019, 14:34 by Christian Kühnlein, Willem Deconinck, Rupert Klein, Sylvie Malardel, Zbigniew P. Piotrowski, Piotr K. Smolarkiewicz, Joanna SzmelterJoanna Szmelter, Nils P. Wedi
We present a nonhydrostatic finite-volume global atmospheric model formulation for numerical weather prediction with the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) at ECMWF, and compare it to the established operational spectral-transform formulation. The novel Finite-Volume Module of IFS (henceforth IFS-FVM) integrates the fully compressible equations using semi-implicit time stepping and non-oscillatory forward-in-time (NFT) Eulerian advection, whereas the spectral-transform IFS solves the hydrostatic primitive equations (optionally the fully compressible equations) using a semi-implicit semi-Lagrangian scheme. The IFS-FVM complements the spectral-transform counterpart by means of the finite-volume discretisation with a local communication footprint, fully conservative and monotone advective transport, all-scale deep-atmosphere fully compressible equations in a generalised height-based vertical coordinate, applicable on flexible meshes. Nevertheless, both the finite-volume and spectral-transform formulations can share the same quasi-uniform horizontal grid with co-located arrangement of variables, geospherical longitude-latitude coordinates, and physical parametrisations, thereby facilitating their comparison, coexistence and combination in IFS. We highlight the advanced semi-implicit NFT finite-volume integration of the fully compressible equations of the novel IFS-FVM considering comprehensive moist-precipitating dynamics with coupling to the IFS cloud parametrisation by means of a generic interface. These developments - including a new horizontal-vertical split NFT MPDATA advective transport scheme, variable time stepping, effective preconditioning of the elliptic Helmholtz solver in the semi-implicit scheme, and a computationally efficient coding implementation - provide a basis for the efficacy of IFS-FVM and its application in global numerical weather prediction. Here, numerical experiments focus on relevant dry and moist-precipitating baroclinic instability at various resolutions. We show that the presented semi-implicit NFT finite-volume integration scheme on co-located meshes of IFS-FVM can provide highly competitive solution quality and computational performance to the proven semi-implicit semi-Lagrangian integration scheme of the spectral-transform IFS.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Geoscientific Model Development






651 - 676


KUEHNLEIN, C. ... et al, 2019. FVM 1.0: a nonhydrostatic finite-volume dynamical core formulation for IFS. Geoscientific Model Development, 12 (2), pp.651-676.


Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Copernicus under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at:





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