2D tracer formulation

Governing equation

The two dimensional tracer model solves an advection-diffusion equation (17). If solved in non-conservative form, the prognostic variable is the passive tracer concentration, \(T\). The corresponding field in Thetis is called 'tracer_2d'.

To activate the 2D tracer model, add tracers using the ModelOptions2d.add_tracer_2d method. An example of its usage is provided in the 2D tracer demo.

A conservative tracer model is also available, given by (1). In this case, the equation is solved for \(q=HT\), where \(H\) is the total water depth. The conservative tracer model is specified by setting the use_conservative_form keyword argument of ModelOptions2d.add_tracer_2d to True.

The tracer model may also be run independently by setting the ModelOptions2d.tracer_only option to True. The hydrodynamics will be defined by any initial conditions specified for the horizontal velocity, or any updates imposed by the user.

Spatial discretization

Thetis supports two different tracer finite element discretizations and associated stabilization methods, summarised in the table below.

Element Family

Name

Space

Stabilization

DG

'dg'

P1DG

Lax-Friedrichs

CG

'cg'

P1

SUPG

Table 1. Finite element families and stabilization methods.

The element family is set by the ModelOptions2d.tracer_element_family option. Polynomial degrees other than one are not currently supported.

Lax-Friedrichs stabilization is used by default and may be controlled using the ModelOptions2d.use_lax_friedrichs_tracer option. Note that it is only a valid choice for the 'dg' element family. The scaling parameter used by this scheme may be controlled using the ModelOptions2d.lax_friedrichs_tracer_scaling_factor option.

If the 'cg' element family is chosen, then SUPG stabilization is used by default. It can be controlled using the ModelOptions2d.use_supg_tracer option. In that case, it is advisable to set characteristic velocities and diffusivities for your problem using the ModelOptions2d.horizontal_velocity_scale and ModelOptions2d.horizontal_diffusivity_scale options.

Temporal discretization

Thetis supports different time integration methods, set by the ModelOptions2d.tracer_timestepper_type option. Use the ModelOptions2d.set_timestepper_type method to set the same timestepper for all 2D model components.

Time integrator

Thetis class

Unconditionally stable

Description

'ForwardEuler'

ForwardEuler

No

Forward Euler method

'BackwardEuler'

BackwardEuler

Yes

Backward Euler method

'CrankNicolson'

CrankNicolson

Yes

Crank-Nicolson method

'DIRK22'

DIRK22

Yes

DIRK(2,3,2) method

'DIRK33'

DIRK33

Yes

DIRK(3,4,3) method

'SSPRK33'

SSPRK33

No

SSPRK(3,3) method

'SteadyState'

SteadyState

Solves equations in steady state

Table 2. Time integration methods for 2D tracer model.