A staggered spectral element model with application to the oceanic shallow water equations

Mohamed Iskandarani, Dale B. Haidvogel, John P. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


A staggered spectral element model for the solution of the oceanic shallow water equations is presented. We introduce and compare both an implicit and an explicit time integration scheme. The former splits the equations with the operator‐integration factor method and solves the resulting algebraic system with generalized minimum residual (GMRES) iterations. Comparison of the two schemes shows the performance of the implicit scheme to lag that of the explicit scheme because of the unpreconditioned implementation of GMRES. The explicit code is successfully applied to various geophysical flows in idealized and realistic basins, notably to the wind‐driven circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean. The last experiment reveals the geometric versatility of the spectral element method and the effectiveness of the staggering in eliminating sprious pressure modes when the flow is nearly non‐divergent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-414
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 15 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • GMRES solver
  • North Atlantic
  • implicit scheme
  • shallow water equations
  • spectral element
  • staggered mesh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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