Compatible finite element methods for numerical weather prediction

3 November 2017

I will describe our research on numerical methods for atmospheric dynamical cores based on compatible finite element methods. These methods extend the properties of the Arakawa C-grid to finite element methods by using compatible finite element spaces that respect the elementary identities of vector-calculus. These identities are crucial in demonstrating basic stability properties that are necessary to prevent the spurious numerical degradation of geophysical balances that would otherwise make numerical discretisations unusable for weather and climate prediction without the introduction of undesirable numerical dissipation. The extension to finite element methods allow these properties to be enjoyed on non-orthogonal grids, unstructured multiresolution grids, and with higher-order discretisations. In addition to these linear properties, for the shallow water equations, the compatible finite element structure can also be used to build numerical discretisations that respect conservation of energy, potential vorticity and enstrophy; I will survey these properties. We are currently developing a discretisation of the 3D compressible Euler equations based on this framework in the UK Dynamical Core project (nicknamed "Gung Ho"). The challenge is to design discretisation of the nonlinear operators that remain stable and accurate within the compatible finite element framework. I will survey our progress on this work to date and present some numerical results.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar