The design of the icosahedral dynamical core DYNAMICO is presented. DYNAMICO solves the multi-layer rotating shallow-water equations, a compressible variant of the same equivalent to a discretization of the hydrostatic primitive equations in a Lagrangian vertical coordinate, and the primitive equations in a hybrid mass-based vertical coordinate. The common Hamiltonian structure of these sets of equations is exploited to formulate energy-conserving spatial discretizations in a unified way.
The horizontal mesh is a quasi-uniform icosahedral C-grid obtained by subdivision of a regular icosahedron. Control volumes for mass, tracers and entropy/potential temperature are the hexagonal cells of the Voronoi mesh to avoid the fast numerical modes of the triangular C-grid. The horizontal discretization is that of Ringler et al. (2010), whose discrete quasi-Hamiltonian structure is identified. The prognostic variables are arranged vertically on a Lorenz grid with all thermodynamical variables collocated with mass. The vertical discretization is obtained from the three-dimensional Hamiltonian formulation. Tracers are transported using a second-order finite-volume scheme with slope limiting for positivity. Explicit Runge-Kutta time integration is used for dynamics, and forward-in-time integration with horizontal/vertical splitting is used for tracers. Most of the model code is common to the three sets of equations solved, making it easier to develop and validate each piece of the model separately.
Representative three-dimensional test cases are run and analyzed, showing correctness of the model. The design permits to consider several extensions in the near future, from higher-order transport to more general dynamics, especially deep-atmosphere and non-hydrostatic equations.