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Thor: a new and flexible global circulation model to explore planetary atmospheres


Mendonça, João M; Grimm, Simon L; Grosheintz, Luc; Heng, Kevin (2016). Thor: a new and flexible global circulation model to explore planetary atmospheres. The Astrophysical Journal, 829(2):115.

Abstract

We have designed and developed, from scratch, a global circulation model (GCM) named THOR that solves the three-dimensional nonhydrostatic Euler equations. Our general approach lifts the commonly used assumptions of a shallow atmosphere and hydrostatic equilibrium. We solve the “pole problem” (where converging meridians on a sphere lead to increasingly smaller time steps near the poles) by implementing an icosahedral grid. Irregularities in the grid, which lead to grid imprinting, are smoothed using the “spring dynamics” technique. We validate our implementation of spring dynamics by examining calculations of the divergence and gradient of test functions. To prevent the computational time step from being bottlenecked by having to resolve sound waves, we implement a split-explicit method together with a horizontally explicit and vertically implicit integration. We validate our GCM by reproducing the Earth and hot-Jupiter-like benchmark tests. THOR was designed to run on graphics processing units (GPUs), which allows for physics modules (radiative transfer, clouds, chemistry) to be added in the future, and is part of the open-source Exoclimes Simulation Platform (www.exoclime.org).

Abstract

We have designed and developed, from scratch, a global circulation model (GCM) named THOR that solves the three-dimensional nonhydrostatic Euler equations. Our general approach lifts the commonly used assumptions of a shallow atmosphere and hydrostatic equilibrium. We solve the “pole problem” (where converging meridians on a sphere lead to increasingly smaller time steps near the poles) by implementing an icosahedral grid. Irregularities in the grid, which lead to grid imprinting, are smoothed using the “spring dynamics” technique. We validate our implementation of spring dynamics by examining calculations of the divergence and gradient of test functions. To prevent the computational time step from being bottlenecked by having to resolve sound waves, we implement a split-explicit method together with a horizontally explicit and vertically implicit integration. We validate our GCM by reproducing the Earth and hot-Jupiter-like benchmark tests. THOR was designed to run on graphics processing units (GPUs), which allows for physics modules (radiative transfer, clouds, chemistry) to be added in the future, and is part of the open-source Exoclimes Simulation Platform (www.exoclime.org).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:04 Jan 2017 09:58
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 06:11
Publisher:Institute of Physics Publishing
ISSN:1538-4357
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/115

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