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A family of numerical models, known as the TRIM models, shares the same modeling philosophy for solving the shallow water equations. A characteristic analysis of the shallow water equations points out that the numerical instability is controlled by the gravity wave terms in the momentum equations and by the transport terms in the continuity equation. A semi-implicit finite-difference scheme has been formulated so that these terms and the vertical diffusion terms are treated implicitly and the remaining terms explicitly to control the numerical stability and the computations are carried out over a uniform finite-difference computational mesh without invoking horizontal or vertical coordinate transformations. An unstructured grid version of TRIM model is introduced, or UnTRIM (pronounces as "you trim"), which preserves these basic numerical properties and modeling philosophy, only the computations are carried out over an unstructured orthogonal grid. The unstructured grid offers the flexibilities in representing complex study areas so that fine grid resolution can be placed in regions of interest, and coarse grids are used to cover the remaining domain. Thus, the computational efforts are concentrated in areas of importance, and an overall computational saving can be achieved because the total number of grid-points is dramatically reduced. To use this modeling approach, an unstructured grid mesh must be generated to properly reflect the properties of the domain of the investigation. The new modeling flexibility in grid structure is accompanied by new challenges associated with issues of grid generation. To take full advantage of this new model flexibility, the model grid generation should be guided by insights into the physics of the problems; and the insights needed may require a higher degree of modeling skill.
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Evaluation of the UnTRIM model for 3-D tidal circulation
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Estuarine and Coastal Modeling: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference