The upper-atmosphere extension of the ICON general circulation model (version: ua-icon-1.0)
How the upper-atmosphere branch of the circulation contributes to and interacts with the circulation of the middle and lower atmosphere is a research area with many open questions. Inertia–gravity waves, for instance, have moved in the focus of research as they are suspected to be key features in driving and shaping the circulation. Numerical atmospheric models are an important pillar for this research. We use the ICOsahedral Non-hydrostatic (ICON) general circulation model, which is a joint development of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) and the German Weather Service (DWD), and provides, e.g., local mass conservation, a flexible grid nesting option, and a non-hydrostatic dynamical core formulated on an icosahedral–triangular grid. We extended ICON to the upper atmosphere and present here the two main components of this new configuration named UA-ICON: an extension of the dynamical core from shallow- to deep-atmosphere dynamics and the implementation of an upper-atmosphere physics package. A series of idealized test cases and climatological simulations is performed in order to evaluate the upper-atmosphere extension of ICON.