Thetis coastal ocean model: discontinuous Galerkin discretization for the three-dimensional hydrostatic equations
Abstract. Unstructured grid ocean models are advantageous for simulating the coastal ocean and river–estuary–plume systems. However, unstructured grid models tend to be diffusive and/or computationally expensive, which limits their applicability to real-life problems. In this paper, we describe a novel discontinuous Galerkin (DG) finite element discretization for the hydrostatic equations. The formulation is fully conservative and second-order accurate in space and time. Monotonicity of the advection scheme is ensured by using a strong stability-preserving time integration method and slope limiters. Compared to previous DG models, advantages include a more accurate mode splitting method, revised viscosity formulation, and new second-order time integration scheme. We demonstrate that the model is capable of simulating baroclinic flows in the eddying regime with a suite of test cases. Numerical dissipation is well-controlled, being comparable or lower than in existing state-of-the-art structured grid models.