The first GABLS intercomparison case was inspired by the simulations of a stable atmospheric boundary layer over the Arctic ocean by Kosovic and Curry (2000). Image couretesy of pinterest.

    The first GABLS intercomparison case was inspired by the simulations of a stable atmospheric boundary layer over the Arctic ocean by Kosovic and Curry (2000). Image couretesy of pinterest.

    The GABLS1 case with an adaptive-grid Single Column model

    The details of the GABLS1-case set-up are presented.

    General set-up

    The so-called `binary-tree-grid’ structure is used to solve the reaction-diffusion equation. A generic timeloop function is included.

    #include "grid/bitree.h"
    #include "diffusion.h"
    #include "run.h"

    Closures for turbulent transport.

    We use the closures from Louis et al. (1982), Holtslag and Boville (1992) and England and Mcnider (1995) to parameterize the turbulent transport. Their forms are defined below:

    #define fris(Ri) (sq((1-(Ri/0.20)))*(Ri<0.20))                          //Critical Ri, Short-tail mixing, England and Mcnider (1995)
    //#define fris(x) (1/(1+(10*x*(1+8*x))))                                // We do not use out-dated Long tail mixing
    #define friu(Ri) (sqrt(1-(18*Ri)))                                      // Holtslag en Boville 1992
    #define friubm(Ri,y) ((1-((10*Ri)/(1+75*y*sqrt((x+zo/zo)*fabs(Ri))))))  // Louis 1982
    #define friubh(Ri,y) ((1-((15*Ri)/(1+75*y*sqrt((x+zo/zo)*fabs(Ri))))))  // louis 1982

    GABLS1 set-up

    Buoyancy is used as the thermodinamic variable. The cooling surface buoyancy is prescribed by the case according to 0.25 \mathrm{K/hour}. The surface roughness is set to 10 cm and the maximum level of refinement is set to correspond to a 2^6=64-cell grid. Some variables are declared that will be useful later.

    #define bbottom (-0.25/26.5*(t/3600))
    double zo = 0.1;
    int maxlevel = 6;
    mgstats mgb;
    int nn;
    double Up[100], uu[100], vv[100], bb[100];
    double Cm,Ch;
    int m = 0;

    Among which are the fieds for the velocity components (u,v) and the buoyancy (b);

    scalar u[], v[], b[];

    We initialize a grid with N=64 cells and set a domain height of 400 metres. After this the simulation starts to run.

    int main(){
      init_grid (1 << maxlevel);
      L0 = 400;
      X0 = 0;

    Boundary Conditions

    Here we set so-called no-slip the boundary conditions for the velocity components at the bottom boundary (labelled left), and use the default (stress-free) conditions for the top boundary. For the buoyancy, we set the bottom boundary condition according to the case description and set a Neumann boundary condition consistent with the initialized profile (see next section) at the top boundary (labelled right). The surface transport is entirely described by a Monon-Obukhov-type closure that (in our implementation) does not require the definition of ghostcell values (see below).

    u[left]  = dirichlet (0.);
    v[left]  = dirichlet (0.);
    b[left]  = dirichlet (bbottom);
    b[right] = neumann (0.01/26.5);


    The solution is initialized according to the prescribed initial profiles (Cuxart et al. 2006).

    event init (t = 0) {
      DT = 1.;
      foreach() {
        u[] = 8;
        v[] = 0;
        b[] = (x>100)*(0.01/26.5)*(x - 100);
      boundary (all);
      while( adapt_wavelet({u, v, b},(double[]){0.25, 0.25, 0.5/26.5}, maxlevel, 3, {u,v,b}).nc){
        foreach() {
          u[] = 8;
          v[] = 0;
          b[] = (x>100)*(0.01/26.5)*(x - 100);
        boundary (all);

    Time integration

    In this event, the time integration is carried out.

    The tendencies due to the Coriolis force and surface transport (rx, ry) for the velocity components (u,v), respectively, and the the tendency field for the buoyancy (rb) is declared.

      scalar rx[], ry[], rb[], bf[];

    Face vector fields are declared for the turbulent diffusivity (kh), the gradient Richardson number(Ri), the stability correction function (fRi) and the surface drag coefficient (CN) is declared.

      face vector kh[], sqd[], Ri[], fRi[];
      double CN;

    On adaptive meshes, face-vectors need to be redefined explicitly before they appear in any computation when a cell is refined.

      kh.x.refine  = no_restriction;
      sqd.x.refine = no_restriction;
      Ri.x.refine  = no_restriction;
      fRi.x.refine = no_restriction;

    We first calculate the tendency term due to the Coriolis force and the geostrophic forcing.

      foreach() {
        rx[] = 0.000139*v[];
        rb[] = 0;
        ry[] = 0.000139*(8 - u[]);
    For the lowest grid cell, an additional tendency term due to
    the surface transport is calculated.
        if (x < Delta) {

    Therefore, we calculate the value of the stability correction function based on the Bulk Richardson number. We distinguish between stable and unstable conditions. Noting that the GABLS1 case is exclusively stable.

          if (b[] > bbottom){
    	Cm = sq(0.4/log((x)/zo))*fris(((x - zo)*(b[] - (bbottom))/(sq(u[]) + sq(v[]))));
    	Ch = Cm;
          else {
    	CN = sq(0.4/log((x)/zo));
    	Cm = CN*friubm((x - zo)*(b[] - (bbottom))/(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])),CN);
    	Ch = CN*friubh((x - zo)*(b[] - (bbottom))/(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])),CN);

    We `add’ the surface fluxes to the respective tendency terms:

          rx[] -= (u[]            *Cm*sqrt(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])))/Delta;
          ry[] -= (v[]            *Cm*sqrt(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])))/Delta;
          rb[] -= ((b[] - bbottom)*Cm*sqrt(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])))/Delta;

    A call the boundary function is needed so that all cells are in a locally equidistant neighbourhood (see Van Hooft et al. 2018).

      boundary (all);

    The turbulent diffusivities (on cell faces) are computed below.

    We start out with evaluating the gradient Richardson number on each face.

        sqd.x[] = (sq((u[] - u[-1])/(Delta)) + sq((v[] - v[-1])/(Delta)));
        Ri.x[] = ((b[] - b[-1])/(Delta))/(sqd.x[] + 0.00001);

    That is used to calculate the stability-correction function, using a different formulation for stable and unstable conditions.

        if (Ri.x[] < 0)
          fRi.x[] = friu(Ri.x[]);
          fRi.x[] = fris(Ri.x[]);

    Finally, kh can be evaluated.

        kh.x[] = sq(min(0.4*x, 70))*(sqrt(sqd.x[]))*fRi.x[];

    kh should be defined consistently at resolution boundaries.


    The time is advanced by dt. We log the convergence properties of the interative multigrid scheme that will be used later.

      dt  = dtnext(DT);
      mgb = diffusion(u,dt,kh,rx);
      nn += mgb.i;
      mgb = diffusion(v,dt,kh,ry);
      nn += mgb.i;
      mgb = diffusion(b,dt,kh,rb);
      nn += mgb.i;


    Every ten minutes we output statistics of our simulation. Most notably, the used number of cells and profiles of the used resolution.

    event output (t += 360) {
      static FILE * fp2 = fopen ("GABLScells.dat","w");
      int nnn = 0;
      fprintf (fp2, "%g\t%g\t%d\t%d\n", t, dt, i, nnn);
      fflush (fp2);
      double yp = 0;
      static FILE * fp1 = fopen ("prfileGABLS10m.dat","w");
      while (yp<400) {
        Point point = locate(yp);
        yp = x;
        fprintf (fp1,"%g\t%g\t%g\t%g\t%g\t%d\n", yp, u[], v[], b[], sqrt(sq(u[]) + sq(v[])), level);
        yp += Delta/1.5;
      static FILE * fp5 = fopen("gabls1grid.dat","w");
      for (double mm=0.; mm<=400; mm+=3.125) {
        Point point = locate((double)mm);
        fprintf (fp5,"%d\t",level);
      fprintf (fp5,"\n");
      fflush (fp5);

    Furthermore, in the last hour of simulation averaged profiles are calculated, we do this by evaluating the solution on an equidistant grid using interpolation to 67 points within the domain.

    event avgprof(t = 8*3600; i += 20) {
      scalar U[];
      U[left] = dirichlet(0);
      int ng = 0;
      foreach() {
        U[] = sqrt(sq(u[])+sq(v[]));
      boundary (all);
      static FILE * fp = fopen ("prfileGABLS.dat","w");
      double yp = 0.;
      int j = 0;
      while (yp < 400) {
        Up[j] += interpolate (U,yp);
        uu[j] += interpolate (u,yp);
        vv[j] += interpolate (v,yp);
        bb[j] += interpolate (b,yp);
        if (t == 8*3600)
          fprintf (fp,"%g\t%g\t%g\t%g\t%g\n", yp, uu[j]/m, vv[j]/m, bb[j]/m, (Up[j]/(m)));
        yp = yp+400./67.;
      fflush (fp);


    Each timestep the grid is adaptated. Furthermore, the timestep is adapted based on a Vertrouwen-komt-te-voet-en-gaat-the-paard strategy. The simulation is stopped when t = 9 \mathrm{hours}

    event adapt (i++; t<=9*3600) {
      adapt_wavelet ({u,v,b}, (double[]){0.25,0.25,0.5/26.5}, maxlevel, 2, {u,v,b});
      if (nn > 14)//Quickly reduce the timestep if things get rough
        DT = max(DT/(1+((double)nn/10.)), 1.);
      if (nn < 8)//Slowly increase the timestep when time integration is easy.
        DT = min(DT*(1 + ((double)nn/100.)),15.);


    Here is a visualization of the output,:

    Looks good, we can plot the used number of grid cells over time:

    set xr [0:9*3600]
    set yr [10:25]
    set size square
    set xlabel 't [s]'
    set ylabel 'cells'
    plot 'GABLScells.dat' u 1:4 w lines


    And for the results, we get sensible profiles for wind (u,v) and buoyancy (b), that is now expressed as potential temperature. A low-level jet at approx. 170 m above the surface and with a 9 m/s magnitude is observed. If you wish to lower the low-level jet a bit, one could decrease the value of the critical Richardson number.

    Intercomparison of the obtained average profiles over the eigtht hour. The grey shaded region corresponds to the \pm \sigma of the LES results

    Intercomparison of the obtained average profiles over the eigtht hour. The grey shaded region corresponds to the \pm \sigma of the LES results

    The obtained results correspond very well to the LES results presented by Beare et al. (2006) who performed a LES intercomparison study of the same case. Cuxart et al. (2006) suggested to use the results from these models as a benchmark.


    Kosović, B., & Curry, J. A. “A large eddy simulation study of a quasi-steady, stably stratified atmospheric boundary layer”. Journal of the atmospheric sciences, 57(8) (2000): 1052-1068.

    Beare, Robert J., et al. “An intercomparison of large-eddy simulations of the stable boundary layer.” Boundary-Layer Meteorology 118.2 (2006): 247-272.

    Cuxart, Joan, et al. “Single-column model intercomparison for a stably stratified atmospheric boundary layer.” Boundary-Layer Meteorology 118.2 (2006): 273-303.

    Holtslag, A. A. M., and B. A. Boville. “Local versus nonlocal boundary-layer diffusion in a global climate model.” Journal of Climate 6.10 (1993): 1825-1842.

    Louis, J. “A short history of PBL parameterization at ECMWF.” paper presented at the Workshop on Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization, Eur. Cent. For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, England, 1982. 1982.

    England, D. E. and McNider, R. T.: Stability functions based upon shear functions, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 74, 113–130, 1995.