Postprint version. Published in Journal of Computational Science, Volume 30, January 1, 2019, pages 143-156.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocs.2018.11.012.
While global-and basin-scale processes can be captured quite well with computationally-inexpensive hydrostatic models, smaller-scale features such as shoaling nonlinear internal waves and bores, coastal fronts, and other convective processes require the use of a nonhydrostatic model to accurately capture dynamics. Here the nonhydrostatic capabilities of the General Curvilinear Coastal Ocean Model (GCCOM) in a stratified environment are introduced. GCCOM is a three-dimensional, nonhydrostatic Large Eddy Simulation (LES), rigid lid model that has the ability to run in a fully three-dimensional general curvilinear coordinate system. This model was previously validated for unstratified flows with curvilinear coordinates. Here, recent advances of the model to simulate stratified flows are presented, focusing on sigma coordinate grids with both flat bottom geometry and a local gently sloping seamount. In particular, a suite of test cases widely used as benchmarks for assessing the nonhydrostatic capabilities for gravity-driven flows and internal waves is presented: an internal seiche in a flat bottom tank, the classic lock release and gravity current experiment, and a field-scale internal wave beam experiment consisting of an oscillating tidal flow over a topographic ridge. GCCOM shows excellent agreement with the benchmark test cases and is able to accurately resolve complex nonhydrostatic phenomena in stratified flows. Future studies will utilize the model capabilities for realistic field-scale internal wave simulations.
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