SEAM: Spectral Element Atmospheric Model

Research supported by the DOE/CHAMMP program.
Spectral element methods

Spectral elements are a type of finite elements in which a high degree spectral method is used within each element. This method combines the accuracy of conventional spectral methods with the geometric flexibility of finite element methods. It allows both modeling complicated domains, such as ocean basins, and refining the mesh locally. This last feature is very promising: It provides a natural way to incorporate regions of high resolution into a global model of the Earth's atmosphere.

SEAM results for the Polar Vortex


  • Taylor , Loft and Tribbia Performance of a spectral element atmospheric model (SEAM) on the HP Exemplar  SPP2000, NCAR/TN-439+EDD (1998). (gziped postscript file and abstract available)
  • Taylor , Tribbia and Iskandarani, The spectral element method for the shallow water equations on the sphere, J. Comput. Phys. 130 (1997) 92-108. (gziped postscript file and abstract available)
  • Haidvogel, Curchitser, Iskandarani, Hughes and Taylor, Global Modeling of the Ocean and Atmosphere Using the Spectral Element Method, Atmosphere-Ocean 35 (1997) 505-531. (abstract)

  • Sample Grids (color coded by element area):

    SEAM: Shallow water equation results

    Plots of regional mesh refinement results:

    SEAM: 3D primitive equations model

    Plots of Held-Suarez Forcing results: