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A time-staggered semi-Lagrangian discretization of the rotating shallow-water equations is proposed and analysed. Application of regularization to the geopotential field used in the momentum equations leads to an unconditionally stable scheme. The analysis, together with a fully nonlinear example application, suggests that this approach is a promising, efficient, and accurate alternative to traditional schemes.

The efficient time integration of the dynamic core equations for numerical weather prediction (NWP) remains a key challenge. One of the most popular methods is currently provided by implementations of the semi-implicit semi-Lagrangian (SISL) method, originally proposed by Robert (J. Meteorol. Soc. Jpn., 1982). Practical implementations of the SISL method are, however, not without certain shortcomings with regard to accuracy, conservation properties and stability. Based on recent work by Gottwald, Frank and Reich (LNCSE, Springer, 2002), Frank, Reich, Staniforth, White and Wood (Atm. Sci. Lett., 2005) and Wood, Staniforth and Reich (Atm. Sci. Lett., 2006) we propose an alternative semi-Lagrangian implementation based on a set of regularized equations and the popular Stormer-Verlet time stepping method in the context of the shallow-water equations (SWEs). Ultimately, the goal is to develop practical implementations for the 3D Euler equations that overcome some or all shortcomings of current SISL implementations.

The accepted idea that there exists an inherent finite-time barrier in deterministically predicting atmospheric flows originates from Edward N. Lorenz’s 1969 work based on two-dimensional (2D) turbulence. Yet, known analytic results on the 2D Navier–Stokes (N-S) equations suggest that one can skillfully predict the 2D N-S system indefinitely far ahead should the initial-condition error become sufficiently small, thereby presenting a potential conflict with Lorenz’s theory. Aided by numerical simulations, the present work reexamines Lorenz’s model and reviews both sides of the argument, paying particular attention to the roles played by the slope of the kinetic energy spectrum. It is found that when this slope is shallower than −3, the Lipschitz continuity of analytic solutions (with respect to initial conditions) breaks down as the model resolution increases, unless the viscous range of the real system is resolved—which remains practically impossible. This breakdown leads to the inherent finite-time limit. If, on the other hand, the spectral slope is steeper than −3, then the breakdown does not occur. In this way, the apparent contradiction between the analytic results and Lorenz’s theory is reconciled.

Multisymplectic methods have recently been proposed as a generalization of symplectic ODE methods to the case of Hamiltonian PDEs. Their excellent long time behavior for a variety of Hamiltonian wave equations has been demonstrated in a number of numerical studies. A theoretical investigation and justification of multisymplectic methods is still largely missing. In this paper, we study linear multisymplectic PDEs and their discretization by means of numerical dispersion relations. It is found that multisymplectic methods in the sense of Bridges and Reich [Phys. Lett. A, 284 ( 2001), pp. 184-193] and Reich [J. Comput. Phys., 157 (2000), pp. 473-499], such as Gauss-Legendre Runge-Kutta methods, possess a number of desirable properties such as nonexistence of spurious roots and conservation of the sign of the group velocity. A certain CFL-type restriction on Delta t/Delta x might be required for methods higher than second order in time. It is also demonstrated by means of the explicit midpoint method that multistep methods may exhibit spurious roots in the numerical dispersion relation for any value of Delta t/Delta x despite being multisymplectic in the sense of discrete variational mechanics [J. E. Marsden, G. P. Patrick, and S. Shkoller, Commun. Math. Phys., 199 (1999), pp. 351-395]

We evaluate the Hamiltonian particle methods (HPM) and the Nambu discretization applied to shallow-water equations on the sphere using the test suggested by Galewsky et al. (2004). Both simulations show excellent conservation of energy and are stable in long-term simulation. We repeat the test also using the ICOSWP scheme to compare with the two conservative spatial discretization schemes. The HPM simulation captures the main features of the reference solution, but wave 5 pattern is dominant in the simulations applied on the ICON grid with relatively low spatial resolutions. Nevertheless, agreement in statistics between the three schemes indicates their qualitatively similar behaviors in the long-term integration.

Towards the assimilation of tree-ring-width records using ensemble Kalman filtering techniques
(2016)

This paper investigates the applicability of the Vaganov–Shashkin–Lite (VSL) forward model for tree-ring-width chronologies as observation operator within a proxy data assimilation (DA) setting. Based on the principle of limiting factors, VSL combines temperature and moisture time series in a nonlinear fashion to obtain simulated TRW chronologies. When used as observation operator, this modelling approach implies three compounding, challenging features: (1) time averaging, (2) “switching recording” of 2 variables and (3) bounded response windows leading to “thresholded response”. We generate pseudo-TRW observations from a chaotic 2-scale dynamical system, used as a cartoon of the atmosphere-land system, and attempt to assimilate them via ensemble Kalman filtering techniques. Results within our simplified setting reveal that VSL’s nonlinearities may lead to considerable loss of assimilation skill, as compared to the utilization of a time-averaged (TA) linear observation operator. In order to understand this undesired effect, we embed VSL’s formulation into the framework of fuzzy logic (FL) theory, which thereby exposes multiple representations of the principle of limiting factors. DA experiments employing three alternative growth rate functions disclose a strong link between the lack of smoothness of the growth rate function and the loss of optimality in the estimate of the TA state. Accordingly, VSL’s performance as observation operator can be enhanced by resorting to smoother FL representations of the principle of limiting factors. This finding fosters new interpretations of tree-ring-growth limitation processes.

This paper extends the multilevel Monte Carlo variance reduction technique to nonlinear filtering. In particular, multilevel Monte Carlo is applied to a certain variant of the particle filter, the ensemble transform particle filter (EPTF). A key aspect is the use of optimal transport methods to re-establish correlation between coarse and fine ensembles after resampling; this controls the variance of the estimator. Numerical examples present a proof of concept of the effectiveness of the proposed method, demonstrating significant computational cost reductions (relative to the single-level ETPF counterpart) in the propagation of ensembles.

Assimilation of pseudo-tree-ring-width observations into an atmospheric general circulation model
(2017)

Paleoclimate data assimilation (DA) is a promising technique to systematically combine the information from climate model simulations and proxy records. Here, we investigate the assimilation of tree-ring-width (TRW) chronologies into an atmospheric global climate model using ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) techniques and a process-based tree-growth forward model as an observation operator. Our results, within a perfect-model experiment setting, indicate that the "online DA" approach did not outperform the "off-line" one, despite its considerable additional implementation complexity. On the other hand, it was observed that the nonlinear response of tree growth to surface temperature and soil moisture does deteriorate the operation of the time-averaged EnKF methodology. Moreover, for the first time we show that this skill loss appears significantly sensitive to the structure of the growth rate function, used to represent the principle of limiting factors (PLF) within the forward model. In general, our experiments showed that the error reduction achieved by assimilating pseudo-TRW chronologies is modulated by the magnitude of the yearly internal variability in themodel. This result might help the dendrochronology community to optimize their sampling efforts.

We introduce a new mixed finite element for solving the 2- and 3-dimensional wave equations and equations of incompressible flow. The element, which we refer to as P1(D)-P2, uses discontinuous piecewise linear functions for velocity and continuous piecewise quadratic functions for pressure. The aim of introducing the mixed formulation is to produce a new flexible element choice for triangular and tetrahedral meshes which satisfies the LBB stability condition and hence has no spurious zero-energy modes. The advantage of this particular element choice is that the mass matrix for velocity is block diagonal so it can be trivially inverted; it also allows the order of the pressure to be increased to quadratic whilst maintaining LBB stability which has benefits in geophysical applications with Coriolis forces. We give a normal mode analysis of the semi-discrete wave equation in one dimension which shows that the element pair is stable, and demonstrate that the element is stable with numerical integrations of the wave equation in two dimensions, an analysis of the resultant discrete Laplace operator in two and three dimensions on various meshes which shows that the element pair does not have any spurious modes. We provide convergence tests for the element pair which confirm that the element is stable since the convergence rate of the numerical solution is quadratic.

The paper provides an introduction and survey of conservative discretization methods for Hamiltonian partial differential equations. The emphasis is on variational, symplectic and multi-symplectic methods. The derivation of methods as well as some of their fundamental geometric properties are discussed. Basic principles are illustrated by means of examples from wave and fluid dynamics