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Original Research Papers

Running GCM physics and dynamics on different grids: algorithm and tests

Author:

Andrea Molod

Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD; Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, US
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Abstract

An ‘alternate grid’ (GridAlt) technique is presented, which allows the different components of a general circulation model’s governing equations to be computed on distinct grids chosen for that component or process. In the implementation presented here, the tendencies of state variables from the physical parametrizations are computed on a vertical grid with very fine resolution near the surface, whereas the remaining terms in the equations of motion are computed using an Eta coordinate with coarser vertical resolution.

Results from a suite of aquaplanet experiments show that much of the benefit of increased vertical resolution in the whole model can be realized by enhancing the vertical resolution of the ‘physics grid’ using GridAlt. The benefit is realized in the fields which are computed directly in the physical parametrizations, and in the vertical structure of the relative humidity and mass streamfunction. Results from a suite of realistically configured simulations demonstrated an impact of GridAlt that was similar to its impact in the simplified simulations, as well as an improved response to El Ni˜no Southern Oscillation forcing. It is concluded that the present implementation of GridAlt offers a practical way to allow GCMs to better capture the near-surface structure of the atmosphere.

How to Cite: Molod, A., 2009. Running GCM physics and dynamics on different grids: algorithm and tests. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 61(3), pp.381–393. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0870.2008.00394.x
  Published on 01 Jan 2009
 Accepted on 13 Jan 2009            Submitted on 15 Nov 2007

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