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A discontinuous/continuous low order finite element shallow water model on the sphere. (English) Zbl 1426.76252
Summary: We study the applicability of a new finite element in atmosphere and ocean modeling. The finite element under investigation combines a second order continuous representation for the scalar field with a first order discontinuous representation for the velocity field and is therefore different from continuous and discontinuous Galerkin finite element approaches. The specific choice of low order approximation spaces is attractive because it satisfies the Ladyzhenskaya – Babuska – Brezzi condition and is, at the same time, able to represent the crucially important geostrophic balance.
The finite element is used to solve the viscous and inviscid shallow water equations on a rotating sphere. We introduce the spherical geometry via a stereographic projection. The projection leads to a manageable number of additional terms, the associated scaling factors can be exactly represented by second order polynomials.
We perform numerical experiments considering steady and unsteady zonal flow, flow over topography, and an unstable zonal jet stream. For ocean applications, the wind driven Stommel gyre is simulated. The experiments are performed on icosahedral geodesic grids and analyzed with respect to convergence rates, conservation properties, and energy and enstrophy spectra. The results match quite well with results published in the literature and encourage further investigation of this type of element for three-dimensional atmosphere/ocean modeling.

76M10 Finite element methods applied to problems in fluid mechanics
76U05 General theory of rotating fluids
86A05 Hydrology, hydrography, oceanography
Full Text: DOI
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