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Mesh type tradeoffs in 2D hydrodynamic modeling of flooding with a Godunov-based flow solver


The effect of mesh type on the accuracy and computational demands of a two-dimensional Godunov-type flood inundation model is critically examined. Cartesian grids, constrained and unconstrained triangular grids, constrained quadrilateral grids, and mixed meshes are considered, with and without local time stepping (LTS), to determine the approach that maximizes computational efficiency defined as accuracy relative to computational effort. A mixed-mesh numerical scheme is introduced so all grids are processed by the same solver. Analysis focuses on a wide range of dam-break type test cases, where Godunov-type flood models have proven very successful. Results show that different mesh types excel under different circumstances. Cartesian grids are 2-3 times more efficient with relatively simple terrain features such as rectilinear channels that call for a uniform grid resolution, while unstructured grids are about twice as efficient in complex domains with irregular terrain features that call for localized refinements. The superior efficiency of locally refined, unstructured grids in complex terrain is attributable to LTS; the locally refined unstructured grid becomes less efficient using global time stepping. These results point to mesh-type tradeoffs that should be considered in flood modeling applications. A mixed mesh model formulation with LTS is recommended as a general purpose solver because the mesh type can be adapted to maximize computational efficiency. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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