Tracer transport within an unstructured grid ocean model using characteristic discontinuous Galerkin advection

D. Lee, M. Petersen, R. Lowrie, T. Ringler

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In a previous article a characteristic discontinuous Galerkin (CDG) advection scheme was presented for tracer transport (Lee et al., 2016). The scheme is conservative, unconditionally stable with respect to time step and scales sub-linearly with the number of tracers being advected. Here we present the implementation of the CDG advection scheme for tracer transport within MPAS-Ocean, a Boussinesque unstructured grid ocean model with an arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian vertical coordinate. The scheme is implemented in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions, and special care is taken to ensure that the scheme remains conservative in the context of moving vertical layers. Consistency is ensured with respect to the dynamics by a renormalization of the fluxes with respect to the volume fluxes derived from the continuity equation. For spherical implementations, the intersection of the flux swept regions and the Eulerian grid are determined for great circle arcs, and the fluxes and element assembly are performed on the plane via a length preserving projection. Solutions are presented for a suite of test cases and comparisons made to the existing flux corrected transport scheme in MPAS-Ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-622
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Mathematics with Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


  • Advection equation
  • Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian vertical coordinate
  • Discontinuous Galerkin
  • Semi Lagrangian
  • Unstructured grid

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