This talk outlines a novel numerical approach for accurate and computationally efficient integrations of PDEs governing all-scale atmospheric dynamics. Such PDEs are not easy to handle, due to a huge disparity of spatial and temporal scales as well as a wide range of propagation speeds of natural phenomena captured by the equations. Moreover, atmospheric dynamics constitutes only a small perturbation about dominant balances that result from the Earth gravity, rotation, composition of its atmosphere and the energy input by the solar radiation. Maintaining this mean equilibrium, while accurately resolving the perturbations, conditions the design of atmospheric models and subjects their numerical procedures to stringent stability, accuracy and efficiency requirements.
The novel Finite-Volume Module of the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) at ECMWF (hereafter IFS-FVM) solves perturbation forms of the fully compressible Euler/Navier-Stokes equations under gravity and rotation using non-oscillatory forward-in-time semi-implicit time stepping and finite-volume spatial discretisation. The IFS-FVM complements the established semi-implicit semi-Lagrangian pseudo-spectral IFS (IFS-ST) with the all-scale deep-atmosphere formulation cast in a generalised height-based vertical coordinate, fully conservative and monotone advection, flexible horizontal meshing and a predominantly local communication footprint. Yet, both dynamical cores can share the same quasi-uniform horizontal grid with co-located arrangement of variables, geospherical longitude-latitude coordinates and physics parametrisations, thus facilitating their synergetic relation.
The focus of the talk is on the mathematical/numerical formulation of the IFS-FVM with the emphasis on the design of semi-implicit integrators and the associated elliptic Helmholtz problem. Relevant benchmark results and comparisons with corresponding IFS-ST results attest that IFS-FVM offers highly competitive solution quality and computational performance.