Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1413–1422, 2016
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1413–1422, 2016

Model description paper 15 Apr 2016

Model description paper | 15 Apr 2016

3-D radiative transfer in large-eddy simulations – experiences coupling the TenStream solver to the UCLA-LES

Fabian Jakub and Bernhard Mayer Fabian Jakub and Bernhard Mayer
  • LMU Munich, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany

Abstract. The recently developed 3-D TenStream radiative transfer solver was integrated into the University of California, Los Angeles large-eddy simulation (UCLA-LES) cloud-resolving model. This work documents the overall performance of the TenStream solver as well as the technical challenges of migrating from 1-D schemes to 3-D schemes. In particular the employed Monte Carlo spectral integration needed to be reexamined in conjunction with 3-D radiative transfer. Despite the fact that the spectral sampling has to be performed uniformly over the whole domain, we find that the Monte Carlo spectral integration remains valid. To understand the performance characteristics of the coupled TenStream solver, we conducted weak as well as strong-scaling experiments. In this context, we investigate two matrix preconditioner: geometric algebraic multigrid preconditioning (GAMG) and block Jacobi incomplete LU (ILU) factorization and find that algebraic multigrid preconditioning performs well for complex scenes and highly parallelized simulations. The TenStream solver is tested for up to 4096 cores and shows a parallel scaling efficiency of 80–90 % on various supercomputers. Compared to the widely employed 1-D delta-Eddington two-stream solver, the computational costs for the radiative transfer solver alone increases by a factor of 5–10.

Short summary
Radiative heating or cooling plays a vital role in the evolution and lifecycle of clouds. Due to the immense computational cost of 3-D radiative transfer, today's atmospheric models usually employ crude 1-D approximations which neglect any horizontal energy transport whatsoever and may introduce non-negligible errors. This paper documents the implementation and runtime characteristics of the new TenStream solver that enables us to study 3-D effects on large domains and extended periods of time.