The Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Model (OLAM). Part II: Formulation and tests of the nonhydrostatic dynamic core

Robert L. Walko, Roni Avissar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamic core of the Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Model (OLAM), which is a new global model that is partly based on the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), is described and tested. OLAM adopts many features of its predecessor, but its dynamic core is new and incorporates a global geodesic grid with triangular mesh cells and a finite-volume discretization of the nonhydrostatic compressible Navier-Stokes equations. The spatial discretization of horizontal momentum is based on a C-staggered grid and uses a method that has not been previously applied in atmospheric modeling. The temporal discretization uses a unique form of time splitting that enforces consistency of advecting mass flux among all conservation equations. OLAM grid levels are horizontal, and topography is represented by the shaved-cell method. Aspects of the shaved-cell method that pertain to the OLAM discretization on the triangular mesh are described, and a method of conserving momentum in shaved cells on a C-staggered grid is presented. The dynamic core was tested in simulations with multiple vertical model levels and significant vertical motion. The tests include an idealized global circulation simulation, a cold density current, and mountain-wave flow over an orographic barrier, all of which are well-known standard benchmark experiments. OLAM gave acceptable results in all tests, demonstrating that its dynamic core produces accurate and robust solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4045-4062
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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