A multiscale nonhydrostatic atmospheric model using centroidal Voronoi tesselations and C-grid staggering

William C. Skamarock, Joseph B. Klemp, Michael G. Duda, Laura D. Fowler, Sang Hun Park, Todd D. Ringler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

346 Citations (Scopus)


The formulation of a fully compressible nonhydrostatic atmospheric model called the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Atmosphere (MPAS-A) is described. The solver is discretized using centroidal Voronoi meshes and a C-grid staggering of the prognostic variables, and it incorporates a split-explicit time-integration technique used in many existing nonhydrostatic meso- and cloud-scale models. MPAS can be applied to the globe, over limitedareas of the globe, and on Cartesian planes. The Voronoi meshes are unstructured grids that permit variable horizontal resolution. These meshes allow for applications beyond uniform-resolution NWP and climate prediction, in particular allowing embedded high-resolution regions to be used for regional NWP and regional climate applications. The rationales for aspects of this formulation are discussed, and results fromtests for nonhydrostatic flows on Cartesian planes and for large-scale flow on the sphere are presented. The resultsindicate that the solver is as accurate as existing nonhydrostatic solvers for nonhydrostatic-scale flows, and has accuracy comparable to existing global models using icosahedral(hexagonal) meshes for large-scale flows in idealized tests. Preliminary full-physics forecast results indicate that the solver formulation is robust and that the variable-resolution-mesh solutions are well resolved and exhibit no obvious problems in the mesh-transition zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3090-3105
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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