Scientists discuss methods to simulate all-scale geophysical flows

Christian Kühnlein, Willem Deconinck, Piotr Smolarkiewicz, Nils Wedi


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From 3 to 6 October 2016, a workshop on numerical and computational methods for the simulation of all-scale geophysical flows took place at ECMWF. The event aimed to foster interdisciplinary research by bringing together scientists working on a range of numerical model developments relevant to numerical weather prediction. The scientific background of the participants ranged from small-scale turbulent flows, weather and climate to solar physics. The emphasis was on numerical solutions and dynamical core formulations, coupling to physical parametrizations and energy-efficient parallel computing.

Dynamical core formulations and numerical techniques for future non-hydrostatic Earth system modelling was one of the key topics discussed. Further contributions highlighted progress with regard to the EU-funded ESCAPE project (Energy-efficient Scalable Algorithms for Weather Prediction at Exascale). More details on ESCAPE can be found at A prominent topic was the methods employed in the finite-volume module (FVM) being developed for ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS). The FVM is an alternative dynamical core formulation with a finite-volume spatial discretisation that is inherently conservative and operates on a compact local stencil minimising communication distance. For more details, see ECMWF Newsletter No. 145, pp. 24–29.

The FVM is being developed under the auspices of the PantaRhei project (FP7/2012/ERC Advanced Grant agreement no. 320375) hosted at ECMWF. The workshop was the first major dissemination of PantaRhei outcomes. For Dr Smolarkiewicz, it continues a long-standing tradition of sharing interdisciplinary research results using the finite-volume MPDATA approach in many different numerical applications covering a huge range of scales, from millimetres to hundreds of thousands of kilometres, and from seconds to millennia.

All presentations are available for download at