Volume 12, Issue 4
A New Approach to Implement Sigma Coordinate in a Numerical Model

Yiyuan Li, Donghai Wang & Bin Wang

Commun. Comput. Phys., 12 (2012), pp. 1033-1050.

Published online: 2012-12

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  • Abstract

This study shows a new way to implement terrain-following σ-coordinate in a numerical model, which does not lead to the well-known ”pressure gradient force (PGF)” problem. First, the causes of the PGF problemare analyzed with existing methods that are categorized into two different types based on the causes. Then, the new method that bypasses the PGF problem all together is proposed. By comparing these threemethods andanalyzing theexpressionof thescalargradientina curvilinearcoordinate system, this study finds out that only when using the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate will the PGF computational form have one term in each momentum component equation, thereby avoiding the PGF problem completely. A convenient way of implementing the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate in a numerical atmospheric model is illustrated, which is to set corresponding parameters in the scalar equations of the Cartesiancoordinate. Finally, two idealizedexperiments manifest that the PGF calculated with the new method is more accurate than using the classic one. This method can be used for oceanic models as well, and needs to be tested in both the atmospheric and oceanic models.


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@Article{CiCP-12-1033, author = {Yiyuan Li, Donghai Wang and Bin Wang}, title = {A New Approach to Implement Sigma Coordinate in a Numerical Model}, journal = {Communications in Computational Physics}, year = {2012}, volume = {12}, number = {4}, pages = {1033--1050}, abstract = {

This study shows a new way to implement terrain-following σ-coordinate in a numerical model, which does not lead to the well-known ”pressure gradient force (PGF)” problem. First, the causes of the PGF problemare analyzed with existing methods that are categorized into two different types based on the causes. Then, the new method that bypasses the PGF problem all together is proposed. By comparing these threemethods andanalyzing theexpressionof thescalargradientina curvilinearcoordinate system, this study finds out that only when using the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate will the PGF computational form have one term in each momentum component equation, thereby avoiding the PGF problem completely. A convenient way of implementing the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate in a numerical atmospheric model is illustrated, which is to set corresponding parameters in the scalar equations of the Cartesiancoordinate. Finally, two idealizedexperiments manifest that the PGF calculated with the new method is more accurate than using the classic one. This method can be used for oceanic models as well, and needs to be tested in both the atmospheric and oceanic models.


}, issn = {1991-7120}, doi = {https://doi.org/10.4208/cicp.030311.230911a}, url = {http://global-sci.org/intro/article_detail/cicp/7323.html} }
TY - JOUR T1 - A New Approach to Implement Sigma Coordinate in a Numerical Model AU - Yiyuan Li, Donghai Wang & Bin Wang JO - Communications in Computational Physics VL - 4 SP - 1033 EP - 1050 PY - 2012 DA - 2012/12 SN - 12 DO - http://dor.org/10.4208/cicp.030311.230911a UR - https://global-sci.org/intro/cicp/7323.html KW - AB -

This study shows a new way to implement terrain-following σ-coordinate in a numerical model, which does not lead to the well-known ”pressure gradient force (PGF)” problem. First, the causes of the PGF problemare analyzed with existing methods that are categorized into two different types based on the causes. Then, the new method that bypasses the PGF problem all together is proposed. By comparing these threemethods andanalyzing theexpressionof thescalargradientina curvilinearcoordinate system, this study finds out that only when using the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate will the PGF computational form have one term in each momentum component equation, thereby avoiding the PGF problem completely. A convenient way of implementing the covariant scalar equations of σ-coordinate in a numerical atmospheric model is illustrated, which is to set corresponding parameters in the scalar equations of the Cartesiancoordinate. Finally, two idealizedexperiments manifest that the PGF calculated with the new method is more accurate than using the classic one. This method can be used for oceanic models as well, and needs to be tested in both the atmospheric and oceanic models.


Yiyuan Li, Donghai Wang & Bin Wang. (1970). A New Approach to Implement Sigma Coordinate in a Numerical Model. Communications in Computational Physics. 12 (4). 1033-1050. doi:10.4208/cicp.030311.230911a
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