M5: Reducing spurious diapycnal mixing in ocean models

Principal investigators: Prof. Armin Iske (Universität Hamburg), Prof. Hans Burchard (Institute for Baltic Research Rostock), Dr. Sergey Danilov (Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven)

The proposed project aims to further develop, assess and analyse numerical algorithms leading to reduction in spurious diapycnal mixing in ocean circulation models. This goal will be achieved by (i) the design and implementation of vertical mesh motion algorithms that reduce spurious mixing; (ii) use of advective schemes with isopycnal diffusion and special design of limiters; (iii) development and analysis of high-order advection algorithms relying on high-order flux evaluation.

Physical mixing (upper panels) and numerical mixing (lower panels) of temperature along a transect across the North Sea simulated with GETM using adaptive coordinates (left) and fixed (sigma in this case) coordinates (right). A reduction of numerical mixing and an according increase of physical mixing when using adaptive coordinates is clearly seen. This figure has been taken from Gräwe et al. (2015) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2015.05.008).

Reports from the scientific front

Minimising spurious mixing in numerical ocean models

(By Knut Klingbeil)

Hi. Last month I started working as a postdoctoral researcher in subproject M5. After being involved already in the project's proposal and review process, I am very happy to finally participate in this exciting TRR. As a co-developer of the coastal ocean model GETM, I am strongly interested in the development of energy-consistent modelling techniques. In ocean models the advective transport of water masses is prone to energetic inconsistency. On the discrete model level this transport is associated with truncation errors causing spurious diapycnal mixing, which artificially increases potential energy without any physical sources. Recently, I developed (together with PI Hans Burchard) a new analysis method that can quantify spurious mixing locally in every single grid cell. In M5 this method will be applied now to assess the new adaptive grid techniques and advanced advection schemes, that will be developed at UHH (PI Armin Iske), AWI (PI Sergey Danilov) and IOW (PI Hans Burchard) in order to reduce spurious mixing. I will be responsible for the development of algorithms that during runtime adapt the discrete model layers to the fluid flow (in order to minimise vertical transports across the layer interfaces), to isopycnals (in order to minimise diapycnal transports along the model layers) as well as to regions where high vertical resolution is needed (in order to minimise truncation errors) in an optimal way. Furthermore, I will successively implement all schemes and algorithms developed in M5 into GETM to identify promising combinations that should finally be included into FESOM (developed by Sergey Danilov), which is the ocean component of the state-of-the-art climate model system ECHAM6/FESOM. With Sergey Danilov and Armin Iske being also PIs in the synthesis project S2, this possibility for direct application of newly developed model techniques within leading national climate model systems is very stimulating. In the frame of the TRR I am looking forward for the close collaboration with experienced oceanographers, meteorologists and mathematicians, which offers an optimal academic environment for me as a young scientist.  To foster the internal collaboration within M5, I will be first employed at UHH for 1.5 years and afterwards at IOW.

Open Positions

  • 1 PhD in Bremerhaven