Submitted as: development and technical paper
10 Nov 2022
Submitted as: development and technical paper |  | 10 Nov 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A Comparison of 3-D Spherical Shell Thermal Convection results at Low to Moderate Rayleigh Number using ASPECT (version 2.2.0) and CitcomS (version 3.3.1)

Grant Thomas Euen, Shangxin Liu, Rene Gassmöller, Timo Heister, and Scott David King

Abstract. Due to the increasing availability of high-performance computing over the past decades numerical models have become an important tool for research in geodynamics. Several generations of mantle convection software have been developed, but due to their differing methods and increasing complexity it is important to evaluate the accuracy of each new model generation to ensure published geodynamic research is reliable and reproducible. We here explore the accuracy of the open-source, finite-element codes ASPECT and CitcomS as a function of mesh spacing using low to moderate Rayleigh number models in steady-state, thermal convection. ASPECT (Advanced Solver for Problems in Earth’s ConvecTion) is a new generation mantle convection code that enables modeling global mantle convection with realistic parameters and complicated physical processes using adaptive mesh refinement (Kronbichler et al., 2012; Heister et al., 2017). We compare the ASPECT results with calculations from the finite element code CitcomS (Zhong et al., 2000; Tan et al., 2006; Zhong et al., 2008), which has a long history of use in the geodynamics community. We find that the globally-averaged quantities: RMS velocity, mean temperature, and Nusselt number at the top and bottom of the shell, agree to within 1 %, and often much better, for calculations with sufficient mesh resolution. We also show that there is excellent agreement of the time-evolution of both the RMS velocity and the Nusselt numbers between the two codes for otherwise identical parameters. Based on our results we are optimistic that similar agreement would be achieved for calculations performed at convective vigor expected for Earth, Venus, and Mars.

Grant Thomas Euen et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-252', Christian Hüttig, 06 Feb 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Grant Euen, 06 Feb 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2022-252', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Feb 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Grant Euen, 24 Feb 2023

Grant Thomas Euen et al.

Grant Thomas Euen et al.


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Short summary
Due to the increasing availability of high-performance computing over the past decades numerical models have become an important tool for research. Here we test two geodynamic codes that produce such models: ASPECT, a newer code, and CitcomS, an older one. We show that they produce solutions that are extremely close. As methods and codes become more complex over time, showing reproducibility allows us to seamlessly link previously-known information to modern methodologies.