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Simulating Nonhydrostatic Atmospheres on Planets (SNAP): Formulation, Validation, and Application to the Jovian Atmosphere

Li, Cheng and Chen, Xi (2019) Simulating Nonhydrostatic Atmospheres on Planets (SNAP): Formulation, Validation, and Application to the Jovian Atmosphere. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 240 (2). Art. No. 37. ISSN 1538-4365.

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A new nonhydrostatic and cloud-resolving atmospheric model is developed for studying moist convection and cloud formation in planetary atmospheres. It is built on top of the Athena++ framework, utilizing its static/adaptive mesh-refinement, parallelization, curvilinear geometry, and dynamic task scheduling. We extend the original hydrodynamic solver to vapors, clouds, and precipitation. Microphysics is formulated generically so that it can be applied to both Earth and Jovian planets. We implemented the Low Mach number Approximate Riemann Solver for simulating low-speed atmospheric flows in addition to the usual Roe and Harten–Lax–van Leer-Contact (HLLC) Riemann solvers. Coupled with a fifth-order weighted essentially nonoscillatory subgrid-reconstruction method, the sharpness of critical fields such as clouds is well-preserved, and no extra hyperviscosity or spatial filter is needed to stabilize the model. Unlike many atmospheric models, total energy is used as the prognostic variable of the thermodynamic equation. One significant advantage of using total energy as a prognostic variable is that the entropy production due to irreversible mixing processes can be properly captured. The model is designed to provide a unified framework for exploring planetary atmospheres across various conditions, both terrestrial and Jovian. First, a series of standard numerical tests for Earth's atmosphere is performed to demonstrate the performance and robustness of the new model. Second, simulation of an idealized Jovian atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium shows that (1) the temperature gradient is superadiabatic near the water condensation level because of the changing of the mean molecular weight, and (2) the mean profile of ammonia gas shows a depletion in the subcloud layer down to nearly 10 bars. Relevance to the recent Juno observations is discussed.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Li, Cheng0000-0002-8280-3119
Alternate Title:Simulating Non-hydrostatic atmospheres on Planets (SNAP): formulation, validation and application to the Jovian atmosphere
Additional Information:© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 August 29; revised 2019 January 7; accepted 2019 January 9; published 2019 February 13. We thank all the people who are working or have worked on the development of Athena++ code, and hosted it on an open-source platform. It is supposed to be a software that solves astrophysical problems but we found no difficulty in extending the solver to atmospheric flows. We also thank Andrew Ingersoll, Xi Zhang, Zhaohuan Zhu, Zhihong Tan, Xianyu Tan, and Kyle Pressel for stimulating discussions of the development of the model. C.L. is supported by the Juno mission.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:hydrodynamics – planets and satellites: atmospheres – planets and satellites: gaseous planets
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190228-105257753
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Official Citation:Cheng Li and Xi Chen 2019 ApJS 240 37
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93338
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Feb 2019 19:08
Last Modified:28 Feb 2019 19:08

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