High Order Local Radial Basis Function Methods for Atmospheric Flow Simulations

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Since the introduction of modern computers, numerical methods for atmospheric simulations have routinely been applied for weather prediction, and in the last fifty years, there has been a steady improvement in the accuracy of forecasts. Accurate numerical models of the atmosphere are also becoming more important as researchers rely on global climate simulations to assess and understand the impact of global warming.The choice of grid in a numerical model is an important design decision and no obvious optimal choice exists for computations in spherical geometry. Despite this disadvantage, grid-based methods are found in all current circulation models. A different approach to the issue of discretizing the surface of the sphere is given by meshless methods, of which radial basis function (RBF) methods are becoming prevalent.In this thesis, RBF methods for simulation of atmospheric flows are explored. Several techniques are introduced to increase the efficiency of the methods. By utilizing a novel algorithm for adaptively placing the node points, accuracy is shown to improve by over one order of magnitude for two relevant test problems. The computational cost can also be reduced by using a local finite difference-like RBF scheme. However, this requires a stabilization mechanism for the hyperbolic problems of interest here. A hyper-viscosity scheme is introduced to address this issue.Another stability issue arising from the ill-conditioning of the RBF basis for almost-flat basis functions is also discussed in the thesis, and two algorithms are proposed for dealing with this stability problem. The algorithms are specifically tailored for the task of creating finite difference weights using RBFs and are expected to overcome the issue of stationary error in local RBF collocation.