4.5. Boundary Conditions for Hyperbolic Equations (ref. Chapter 8, Durran) 4.5.1.

Introduction In numerical models, we have to deal with two types of boundary conditions: a) Physical e.g., ground (terrain), coast lines, the surface of a car when modeling flow around a moving car. internal boundaries / discontinuities b) Artificial / Numerical must impose them to limited integration domain, but they should act as if they don't exist the boundary should be transparent to "disturbances" moving across the boundary there can be different kinds of forcing at the boundaries, e.g., lifting by mountain slope and heating at the surface these boundaries should be well-posed mathematically often we have to over-specify the boundary condition, e.g., when a grid is one-way nested inside the coarser grid it has been shown that no well-posed lateral b.c. exists for the shallow water equations or for the NavierStokes equations still a lot of debate in this area. B.C. are often critical because they can exert enormous control over the interior solution


As you might suspect, B.C. for hyperbolic problems are closely related to the theory of characteristics – information propagates along characteristic paths. Consider the well-posed problem in a 1-D domain x ≥ 0 (only one b.c. at x=0, but to solve the problem numerically, we have to place a computational boundary somewhere at x>0).

∂u ∂u +c =0 ∂t ∂x I.C.: u(x,0) = f (x) B.C.: u(0,t) = g(x) And f(0) = g(0) for consistency between the I.C. and B.C. From our earlier discussion, we know that
du = 0 along dx/dt = c, i.e., x = ct + β


where β is a constant to be determined by I.C. Look at an x-t diagram:


t1) = u(x2. 4-3 . Consider now point (x3.e.ct) for x ≥ ct.C.C.Consider the characteristic passing through (x1 . f(x). t1): u(x1 . using the MOC. i.. we see that u(x3. g(t) and not the I. In this case. t3). t3) = u(0. that solution can be related to the I.C. t) = f(x. Thus in general. 0) = f( x2 ) = f( x1 – ct1 ) For any (x. t*) = g( t3 – x3/c) solution has dependency on the B. t) such that x – ct ≥ 0. u(x.

C.. Now. no condition is required there! It is unlikely that the solution given by f(x1-ct1).x/c) if x < ct.C. which isn't known at x = L a priori! What happens if we have a whole spectrum of waves that propagate at difference speeds? We can't supply a B.2.C.5. Number of Boundary Conditions For the previous 1-D advection problem. the B.e. the problem becomes ill-posed because we've overspecified the solution at x = L. in the general case. depends on the solution.u(x. The problem is that. t) = g(t . for example. will match whatever condition we impose at x=L. i. we need only one B. Recall the characteristic form of the system for Φ = constant ∂A ∂A + Φ =0 ∂t ∂x 4-4 (38a) . if we have to impose a boundary condition at x = L. for each one! 4. Now let's look at the 1-D shallow water equations in the absence of mean flow: ∂u ' ∂φ ' + =0 ∂t ∂x ∂φ ' ∂u ' +Φ =0 ∂t ∂x (37a) (37b) 0≤ x ≤ L.

(38b) Clearly. the number of B. but not to where it's going! 4.5. In our case. This doesn't tell what the B.3.e. however. with wave speeds of ± Φ . We have separated the waves. Just how many. Sample B. This is the behavior for the exact or differential solution.C.C.C. boundary condition Note that we specify the B.H. we desire to let incident waves pass through without reflection. as if the boundary wasn’t there at all. also depends on the particular grid structure used.. and Wave Reflection For limited area models that contain artificial lateral boundaries.C. and in general. boundary condition must specify R. should be. λ1 = + Φ λ2 = − Φ right moving wave left moving wave must specify L.H. 4-5 . the number of boundary conditions equals to the number of eigenvalues. from where the wave originates. there are 2 pure advection equations in the Riemann invariants A and B. i. In practice.∂B ∂B − Φ =0 ∂t ∂x where A = u + φ / Φ and B = u − φ / Φ . or eigenvalues.

Our center-in-space discretization connot be applied at x=L (since it needs u at L+1). should be speficied at x=L.t = t1 Consider 1-D linear advection: ∂u ∂u +c =0 ∂t ∂x t = t2 c >0 and constant.C. −∞ ≤ x ≤ ∞ . Note that no B. t ≥ 0 . so something else must be done. because the physical equation doesn't support left-moving wave. we need consider only the spatial derivative. except due to the fact that computer has limited memory and computing power so you can't make the computational domain infinitely large. the reflected wave must be computational in origin. (39) To look at reflection at the boundary. If there is reflection at x=L. 4-6 . ∂u + cδ 2 xu = 0 ∂t −∞ ≤ x ≤ L (40) This equation describes a right-moving wave.

are applied to the semi-discrete (semi because time remains in derivative form therefore there is no time discretization error – we focus on error caused by spatial discretization) equation (40)? Assume solutions of the form u = A exp[i (kx j − ωt )] .C.(40). uL = uL-1 3. uL = 0 2.Approximations to the PDE at x=L: 1. uL = 2uL-1 . upstream at the boundary: n n ∂u u L − u L −1 = −c ∂t L ∆x n n n ∂u 3u L − 4u L−1 + 4u L−2 = −c ∂t L 2∆x upstream second-order upstream Question: What happens to a wave when these B.g.. −iω Ae i ( kx j −ωt ) Plug it into Eq. we get eik ∆x − e − ik ∆x =0 2 ∆x ( pd = k ∆x) + cAe i ( kx j −ωt ) ωd = c sin(k ∆x) c sin( pd ) = ∆x ∆x 4-7 . e.uL-2 Fixed or rigid boundary Zero gradient (about uL-∆x/2) Linear extrapolation One can also use special forms of the PDE.

two values of k∆x correspond to a single ωd. We now want to compare these two frequencies. Note that.Now. ωe is linear in k∆x. whereas in the exact solution. in the F. 4-8 .D. for the PDE we have ωe = kc = k ∆x pc c= e ∆x ∆x where pe = exact value of k∆x. solution.

We therefore say that the F.. Note that. we write: u n = [ Aeipj + Bei (π − p ) j ]e − iωt j 0≤ p ≤π /2 where the 2nd term takes care of 'reflection'. Group velocity: cg = ∂ωd = c cos( pd ) ∂ ( pd / ∆x) 4-9 . i. the phase speed is always positive – so it has no way of indicating reflection. Slope = ∂ω / ∂k = group velocity – we will return to this shortly. for small p. solution is non-monochromatic. The second term is the computational mode in space.e. We now start to see that phase speed isn't a good indicator of wave reflection. In that spirit.D. there is more than one wavelength per frequency. Phase speed: cd = ωd k = ωd pd / ∆x = c sin( pd ) >0 pd which is the same for both modes ( 0 ≤ p ≤ π / 2 ). like we did in the leapfrog scheme when we wrote β1 = f(β2) =β. cd ∼ c . In the above case. because it does not represent the propagation of wave energy. We can gain insight into the behavior of the solution by creating a monochromatic form. Note that the slope of the curve for p> π/2 is opposite to that for p≤ π/2.

145-157 (1966).the reflected waves (or more accurately wave packets) transport energy in the opposite direction upon reflection.p.cg > 0 for pd = p (0 ≤ p ≤ π / 2) cg< 0 for pd= π . JMSJ.0 B(=r) = amplitude of reflected (computational mode) wave (notation is from the monochromatic solution) u j = e − iωt ⎡eipj + rei (π − p ) j ⎤ ⎣ ⎦ Example: Zero gradient lateral boundary condition uL = uL-1 without loss of generality. this means that energy is propagating in a direction opposite to the cg of the exact solution (which is positive). If cg < 0. See Matsuno. Let A = amplitude of incident wave = 1. 44. We can interpret reflection in terms of group velocity . such negatively propagating waves may be a result of reflection at the boundary (it can also be because of other reasons). It is possible to determine the amplitude. r. of the reflected wave. we can let L=0 u0 = u-1 4-10 .

0982 | r | ~ 1/ (incident wavelength)..e. should pass through a zero gradient boundary freely. r (1 + eip ) = e− ip − 1 e −ip − 1 e − ip / 2 (e− ip / 2 − eip / 2 ) −i sin( p / 2) r= = ip / 2 −ip / 2 ip / 2 = e −ip ip 1+ e cos( p / 2) e (e +e ) = -[cos(p ) − i sin( p )] i tan( p / 2) | r | = tan (p/2) where p = k ∆x = pd ( 0 ≤ p ≤ π / 2 ) Note: The reflected amplitude depends upon both k of the incident wave and ∆x. Short waves are reflected much more than long waves – it is understandable – infinitely long waves. i.0 complete reflection without change in amplitude. 4∆x wave ( p = π/4 ) 32 ∆x wave (p=π/16) | r | = 1. and the e − iωt 'cancels' via linear independence for a single frequency ω. 4-11 . we have 1 + r = e − ip + re − i (π − p ) where 'd' on p has been dropped. constant field. relatively weak reflection | r | = 0.With j=0 and j= -1 in our solution.

Using the same analysis as before. The system describes waves moving in the + or – directions depending upon the relationship of u and Φ1/2. there will be 2 physical modes and 2 computational modes – one for each wave. then the wave will go to the left.4.5.φ ) 2 = (u . we have Physical Modes: u+ Φ ˆ (u . Because we have 2 waves in this system. Refelction for the Shallow Water Eqautions – Radiation Boundary Condition Let's consider a semi-discrete shallow water equations system: ∂u ˆ + u δ 2 xu + Φδ 2 xφ = 0 ∂t ˆ ∂φ ˆ + u δ 2 xφ + Φδ 2 xu = 0 ∂t ˆ Here.4.φ )1 = (u . This is to make our discussion easier. If u < 0 and | u | > Φ1/2.φ )1 ei ( k1x −ω1t ) with ω1 = sin(k1∆x) ∆x u− Φ ˆ (u . we let φ = φ / Φ so that the two equations are completely symmetric. Often we want to allow such waves to pass through an artificial lateral boundary while minimizing the reflection.φ ) 2 ei ( k2 x −ω2t ) with ω2 = sin(k2 ∆x) ∆x 4-12 .

respectively. Let's now look at the directions of phase speed and group velocity of these modes.. i.φ ) 4 ei ( k4 x −ω4t ) u+ Φ π sin(k3∆x) and k3 = − k1 ∆x ∆x u− Φ π with ω4 = sin(k4 ∆x) and k4 = − k2 ∆x ∆x Note: ω3 = ω1 and ω4 = ω2. Thus there are always 2 group velocities > 0 and two < 0.ˆ where u andφ are the amplitude of u and φ .φ )3 ei ( k3 x −ω3t ) with ω3 = (u . Phase Speed Physical modes: cp > 0 for both modes if u > Φ1/2 cp > 0 for one and < 0 for the other if 0<u <Φ1/2 Same as above Computational Modes: Group Velocity cg1 = . Computational Modes (the "image" about p=π/2) (u . 2 horizontal wavenumbers corresponding to the same value of frequency.φ )3 = (u.2∆x ≤ π/2 for a monochromatic solution.cg4 = ( u . 4-13 .cg3 = ( u + Φ1/2) cos( k1 ∆x) cg2 = .φ ) 4 = (u .e.Φ1/2) cos( k2 ∆x) where 0 ≤ k1.

mode 1 is the physical incident wave. and if it gets reflected. Mode 1: Mode 2: Mode 3: Mode 4: Phase > 0. Going back to our 4 solutions.e. Here. its energy will come back in modes 2 and 3 because their group velocities are negative. we know that u = u1 + u2 + u3 + u4 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ φ= φ1+ φ2+ φ3+ φ4 From the analytical solution. Phase < 0 Phase > 0 Phase < 0. the energy and phase always propagate in the same direction.. The reflection won’t show up as mode 4. we can analyze the reflection in terms of 1. we want to specify a boundary condition at x = L. Now. we find that for Φ1/2 > u > 0 (this case only). i. 2 and 3 only: 4-14 . As a result. group > 0 group < 0 group < 0 group > 0 physical mode physical mode computational mode computational mode Now.Example: Consider what happens at an outflow boundary when Φ1/2 > u > 0. we know that ω = k ( u +Φ1/2 ) cp = cg.

we have.u = (eik1x + reik3 x )e − iω1t + R eik2 x e − iω2t ˆ φ = (eik1x + reik3 x )e −iω1t − R eik2 x e− iω2t reflected computational mode (amplitude=r) reflected physical mode (41) incident physical mode Why the minus sign on the last term in the φ equation? ˆ Recall that the Riemann invariant of the right-moving wave is u1. So. let's examine the reflection properties for various boundary conditions applied to this particular semi-discrete form of the shallow water equations.3 which is the physical mode 1 with its computational counterpart 3. The minus sign is needed to make sure that the above 2 equations when added together form a Riemann invariant that does not involve left-ward propagation ˆ ˆ waves . u − Φ1/2 4-15 . First.3 + φ1.e.3 ˆ u + φ = 2(eik1x + reik3 x )e − iω1t . 1. Now.3/Φ1/2 = u1.those that are supported by the other characteristic equation. ∂ (u − φ ) / ∂t + (u − Φ )∂ (u − φ ) / ∂x = 0 . if ω1 = ω2 (ω1 = ω3 already). u + Φ1/2 k2 ≈ k1 .3 + φ 1.3 1. i. it's important to recognize that the solutions at the boundary must be continuous frequency of the incident and reflected waves must be identical at the boundary.

[Here we assumed that k∆x is small (good for high resolution) so thatsin( k ∆x) ≈ k ∆x ]. we have the rigid wall. Therefore. uL = 0 ∂φ =0 ∂x L (if u=0. let's apply the above analysis to different types of boundary conditions. k2 > k1. or the reflected wave is always smaller in scale than the incident wave.e.. Based on earlier analysis. can't have u ≠ 0if u=0 at the boundary) Let L =0 without loss of generality: 4-16 . i. (Note that at a critical layer where Φ1/2 = u .e..) Now. i. the analysis is not valid and a different approach has to be taken. we rewrite (41) as u = [e ik1 x + re i( π ∆x − k1 ) x + R eik2 x ]e − iωt (ω1 = ω2 = ω3 = ω ) ( x = j ∆x ) = [eik1x + r (−1) j eik1x + R eik2 x ]e − iωt Similarly we have φ = [eik x + r (−1) j eik x − R eik x ]e−iωt 1 1 2 Case I: uL = 0.

we have 1 + r − R = 1 − ik1∆x − r + rik1∆x − R + Rik2∆x r = i∆x(−k1 + rk1 + Rk2 ) / 2 Equating the real and imaginary parts.-1 0 therefore u0 = 0. φ0 = φ-1 . we have 1 + r − R = [e − ik1∆x − re − ik1∆x − R e− ik2∆x ] Assuming that e x ≈ 1 + x . For the first equation. we have r=0 R = -1 4-17 . we have 1+r+R=0 For the second.

∂t ∆x ∆x 4-18 .k2. We showed earlier that u + Φ1/2 k2 = k1 u − Φ1/2 which agrees with current result when u =0. For φ. which finds it basis in our analysis. When there is indeed a wall. which is the expected condition for a rigid lateral boundary. we found total reflection in the physical mode. Case II: Wave radiating lateral boundary condition At the boundary L. This is also undesirable if the true problem does not actually have a boundary here. we often use the so-called mirror boundary condition (as in ARPS for B. we use ∂u u − u L −1 + (u + c* ) L =0 ∂t ∆x to replace the momentum equation. In summary.C. option one). use the governing equation itself with one-sided difference: ∂φ φ −φ u − u L−1 + u L L −1 + Φ L = 0.k1 = .

Orlanski (1976) applies equation like (42) to all variables. In complicated models. with one-sided difference when necessary. the sign of u + c* determines inflow or outflow boundary. JAS. 4-19 . In (42). 1978. we find (show for yourselves) that (u − Φ1/2 )(Φ1/2 − c* ) R= (u + Φ1/2 )(Φ1/2 + c* ) r=0 [See Klemp and Lilly. the reflection is in the physical mode.In the above. Keep in mind that this analysis assumes that k∆x 1. or computed as was done by Orlanski 1976). and that is not good. This type of condition is called Sommerfeld radiation condition. p78] If we do a good job of estimating c*. but in practice. Other equations are then solved using their original governing equations. the effect can be thought as being accounted for in c*). Again. Doing a reflection analysis. then we can make R~0. it does not work very well – it leads to over-specification of conditions and enhancement of the computational mode. one typically replaces the normal momentum equation at the lateral boundary with ∂u ∂u + (u + c* ) = 0 ∂t ∂x (42) (for reflected physical mode) (for computational mode) It neglects pressure gradient force responsible for the wave propagation. c* is an estimate of the dominant wave speed at the lateral boundary (can be set constant.

our shallow water system is ∂A ∂A + (u + Φ1/ 2 ) =0 ∂t ∂x ∂B ∂B + (u − Φ1/ 2 ) =0 ∂t ∂x with A = u + φ/Φ1/2 and B = u . then The radiation condition A + B = A + 0 = 2u ∴ ∂ (2u ) ∂ (2u ) + (u + Φ1/ 2 ) =0 ∂t ∂x which is the Radiation Condition we used. In fact. It should be noted that.C.φ/Φ1/2 . the Riemann invariants. in terms of characteristics. and that's why a PGF does not occur. at the lateral boundary.ARPS has options for four variations for radiation lateral boundary conditions – all follow Sommerfeld condition. the radiation ∂t ∂x B. if B=0. So. the difference being the way c* is determined and whether (42) is applied in large or small time steps. can be regarded as a condition written in terms of the characteristics. Klemp and Lilly (1978) gives more details on the analysis of radiation lateral boundary conditions. 4-20 . ∂u ∂u + (u + c* ) = 0 is equivalent to setting to zero the amplitude of B.

. I. 1976: A simple boundary condition for unbounded hyperbolic flows. Klemp.. 1978: Numerical simulation of hydrostatic mountain waves. Phys. Lilly. 21. J.. δ 2t u = −r ( x)(u − u ) n−1 = −(u − u )n−1 / τ ( x) 4-21 . J. Comput. B. K.. and D.References: Orlanski. to 'absorb' incident wave energy and damp possibly reflected energy. Sci. J. Other Boundary Conditions Rayleigh Damping (Sponge) Here we include a regional (zone) next to the lateral boundary in which zero-order (Rayleigh) damping is applied to the prognostic variables. 35. 251-269. 4.4. 78107.5. Atmos.

the coarse grid solution of the same model or by analysis – the case of one-way nesting).g. internal gravity. Reference: Klemp. as in the ARPS.. the top boundary of the computational domain often has to be placed at a finite height – creating an artificial top boundary. One example of radiation top boundary condition is that of Klemp and Durran (1983).where r is the Rayleigh damping coefficient and τ the corresponding e-folding time of damping. Top boundary condition In atmospheric models. Rayleigh damping is usually needed when the lateral boundary conditions are over-specified. 1983: An upper boundary condition permitting internal gravity wave radiation in numerical mesoscale models. Rev. It is often used in combination with the Rayleigh damping.3. however. Wea. the longer it takes to damp. waves can reflect off the boundary and interact with flow below – creating problems. Durran. 4-22 .g. Mon.2). short waves are selectively damped. Viscous sponge It takes the form of second-order diffusion δ 2t u = K δ xxu n−1 In this case. 111. J. when a grid is forced by the solution of another model. Vertically propagating. It does not damp long reflected waves effectively. B.. R. and D. See also Durran section (8. 430-444.. ARPS uses Rayleigh damping with externally forced boundary option.. such as the case of externally forced boundary (e. e. The smaller r is.

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