Publications / Journal Article

Communication-efficient property preservation in tracer transport

Bradley, Andrew M.; Bosler, Peter A.; Guba, Oksana G.; Taylor, Mark A.; Barnett, Gregory A.

Atmospheric tracer transport is a computationally demanding component of the atmospheric dynamical core of weather and climate simulations. Simulations typically have tens to hundreds of tracers. A tracer field is required to preserve several properties, including mass, shape, and tracer consistency. To improve computational efficiency, it is common to apply different spatial and temporal discretizations to the tracer transport equations than to the dynamical equations. Using different discretizations increases the difficulty of preserving properties. This paper provides a unified framework to analyze the property preservation problem and classes of algorithms to solve it. We examine the primary problem and a safety problem; describe three classes of algorithms to solve these; introduce new algorithms in two of these classes; make connections among the algorithms; analyze each algorithm in terms of correctness, bound on its solution magnitude, and its communication efficiency; and study numerical results. A new algorithm, QLT, has the smallest communication volume, and in an important case it redistributes mass approximately locally. These algorithms are only very loosely coupled to the underlying discretizations of the dynamical and tracer transport equations and thus are broadly and efficiently applicable. In addition, they may be applied to remap problems in applications other than tracer transport.