4. Constructing Suites

4.1. Suite Definition File

The SDF is a file in XML format used to specify the name of the suite, the physics schemes to run, groups of physics that run together, the order in which to run the physics, and whether subcycling will be used to run any of the parameterizations with shorter timesteps. The SDF files are part of the host model code.

In addition to the primary parameterization categories (such as radiation, boundary layer, deep convection, resolved moist physics, etc.), the SDF can have an arbitrary number of interstitial schemes in between the parameterizations to preprocess or postprocess data. In many models, this interstitial code is not obvious to the model user but, with the SDF, both the primary parameterizations and the interstitial schemes are listed explicitly.

The format of the SDF is specified by a schema and all host models that use CCPP include file suite.xsd to describe the schema.

The name of the suite is listed at the top of the SDF, right after the XML declaration, and must be consistent with the name of the SDF: file suite_ABC.xml contains suite name=’ABC’, as in the example below. The suite name is followed by the version of the XML schema used.

4.1.1. Groups

The concept of grouping physics in the SDF (reflected in the <group name="XYZ"> elements) enables “groups” of parameterizations to be called with other computation (such as related to the dycore, I/O, etc.) in between. One can edit the groups to suit the needs of the host application. For example, if a subset of physics schemes needs to be more tightly connected with the dynamics and called more frequently, one could create a group consisting of that subset and place a ccpp_physics_run call in the appropriate place in the host application. The remainder of the parameterization groups could be called using ccpp_physics_run calls in a different part of the host application code.

4.1.2. Subcycling

The SDF allows subcycling of schemes, or calling a subset of schemes at a smaller time step than others. The <subcycle loop = n> element in the SDF controls this function. All schemes within such an element are called n times during one ccpp_physics_run call. An example of this is found in the suite_FV3_GFS_v16.xml SDF, where the surface schemes are executed twice for each timestep (implementing a predictor/corrector paradigm):

<!-- Surface iteration loop -->
<subcycle loop="2">

Note that currently no time step information is included in the SDF and that the subcycling of schemes resembles more an iteration over schemes with the loop counter being available as integer variable with standard name ccpp_loop_counter. If subcycling is used for a set of parameterizations, the smaller time step must be an input argument for those schemes, or computed in the scheme from the default physics time step (timestep_for_physics) and the number of subcycles (ccpp_loop_extent).

4.1.3. Order of Schemes

Schemes may be interdependent and the order in which the schemes are run may make a difference in the model output. Reading the SDF(s) and defining the order of schemes for each suite happens at compile time. Some schemes require additional interstitial code that must be run before or after the scheme and cannot be part of the scheme itself. This can be due to dependencies on other schemes and/or the order of the schemes as determined in the SDF. Note that more than one SDF can be supplied at compile time, but only one can be used at runtime.

4.2. Interstitial Schemes

The SDF can have an arbitrary number of additional interstitial schemes in between the primary parameterizations to preprocess or postprocess data. There are two main types of interstitial schemes, scheme-specific and suite-level. The scheme-specific interstitial scheme is needed for one specific scheme and the suite-level interstitial scheme processes data that are relevant for various schemes within a suite.

4.3. SDF Examples

4.3.1. Simplest Case: Single Group and no Subcycling

Consider the simplest case, in which all physics schemes are to be called together in a single group with no subcycling (i.e. subcycle loop="1"). The subcycle loop must be set in each group. The SDF suite_Suite_A.xml could contain the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<suite name="Suite_A" ver="1">
  <group name="physics">
    <subcycle loop="1">

Note the syntax of the SDF. The root (the first element to appear in the xml file) is the suite with the name of the suite given as an attribute. In this example, the suite name is Suite_A. Within each suite are groups, which specify a physics group to call (i.e. physics, fast_physics, time_vary, radiation, stochastics). Each group has an option to subcycle. The value given for loop determines the number of times all of the schemes within the subcycle element are called. Finally, the scheme elements are children of the subcycle elements and are listed in the order they will be executed. In this example, scheme_1_pre and scheme_1_post are scheme-specific preprocessing and postprocessing interstitial schemes, respectively. The suite-level preprocessing and postprocessing interstitial schemes scheme_2_generic_pre and scheme_2_generic_post are also called in this example. Suite_A_interstitial_2 is a scheme for suite_A and connects various schemes within this suite.

4.3.2. Case with Multiple Groups

Some models require that the physics be called in groups, with non-physics computations in-between the groups.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<suite name="Suite_B" ver="1">
  <group name="g1">
    <subcycle loop="1">
  <group name="g2">
    <subcycle loop="1">

4.3.3. Case with Subcycling

Consider the case where a model requires that some subset of physics be called on a smaller time step than the rest of the physics, e.g. for computational stability. In this case, one would make use of the subcycle element as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<suite name="Suite_C" ver="1">
  <group name="g1">
    <subcycle loop="1">
    <subcycle loop="2">
      <!-- block of schemes 3 and 4 is called twice -->

4.3.4. GFS v16beta Suite

Here is the SDF for the physics suite equivalent to the GFS v16beta in the Single Column Model (SCM), which employs various groups and subcycling:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<suite name="SCM_GFS_v16beta" version="1">
  <group name="time_vary">
    <subcycle loop="1">
  <group name="radiation">
    <subcycle loop="1">
  <group name="physics">
    <subcycle loop="1">
    <!-- Surface iteration loop -->
    <subcycle loop="2">
    <!-- End of surface iteration loop -->
    <subcycle loop="1">

The suite name is SCM_GFS_v16beta. Three groups (time_vary, radiation, and physics) are used, because the physics needs to be called in different parts of the host model. The detailed explanation of each primary physics scheme can be found in scientific documentation. A short explanation of each scheme is below.

  • GFS_time_vary_pre: GFS physics suite time setup

  • GFS_rrtmg_setup: Rapid Radiative Transfer Model for Global Circulation Models (RRTMG) setup

  • GFS_rad_time_vary: GFS radiation time setup

  • GFS_phys_time_vary: GFS physics suite time setup

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_rad_reset: GFS suite interstitial radiation reset

  • GFS_rrtmg_pre: Preprocessor for the GFS radiation schemes

  • rrtmg_sw_pre: Preprocessor for the RRTMG shortwave radiation

  • rrtmg_sw: RRTMG for shortwave radiation

  • rrtmg_sw_post: Postprocessor for the RRTMG shortwave radiation

  • rrtmg_lw_pre: Preprocessor for the RRTMG longwave radiation

  • rrtmg_lw: RRTMG for longwave radiation

  • rrtmg_lw_post: Postprocessor for the RRTMG longwave radiation

  • GFS_rrtmg_post: Postprocessor for the GFS radiation schemes

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_phys_reset: GFS suite interstitial physics reset

  • GFS_suite_stateout_reset: GFS suite stateout reset

  • get_prs_fv3: Adjustment of the geopotential height hydrostatically in a way consistent with FV3 discretization

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_1: GFS suite interstitial 1

  • GFS_surface_generic_pre: Preprocessor for the surface schemes (land, sea ice)

  • GFS_surface_composites_pre: Preprocessor for surafce composites

  • dcyc2t3: Mapping of the radiative fluxes and heating rates from the coarser radiation timestep onto the model’s more frequent time steps

  • GFS_surface_composites_inter: Interstitial for the surface composites

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_2: GFS suite interstitial 2

  • sfc_diff: Calculation of the exchange coefficients in the GFS surface layer

  • GFS_surface_loop_control_part1: GFS surface loop control part 1

  • sfc_nst_pre: Preprocessor for the near-surface sea temperature

  • sfc_nst: GFS Near-surface sea temperature

  • sfc_nst_post: Postprocessor for the near-surface temperature

  • lsm_noah: Noah land surface scheme driver

  • sfc_sice: Simple sea ice scheme

  • GFS_surface_loop_control_part2: GFS surface loop control part 2

  • GFS_surface_composites_post: Postprocess for surface composites

  • sfc_diag: Land surface diagnostic calculation

  • sfc_diag_post: Postprocessor for the land surface diagnostic calculation

  • GFS_surface_generic_post: Postprocessor for the GFS surface process

  • GFS_PBL_generic_pre: Preprocessor for all Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) schemes (except MYNN)

  • satmedmfvdifq: Scale-aware TKE-based moist eddy-diffusion mass-flux

  • GFS_PBL_generic_post: Postprocessor for all Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) schemes (except MYNN)

  • GFS_GWD_generic_pre: Preprocessor for the orographic gravity wave drag

  • cires_ugwp: Unified gravity wave drag

  • cires_ugwp_post: Postprocessor for the unified gravity wave drag

  • GFS_GWD_generic_post: Postprocessor for the GFS gravity wave drag

  • rayleigh_damp: Rayleigh damping

  • GFS_suite_stateout_update: GFS suite stateout update

  • ozphys_2015: Ozone photochemistry

  • h2ophys: H2O physics for stratosphere and mesosphere

  • get_phi_fv3: Hydrostatic adjustment to the height in a way consistent with FV3 discretization

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_3: GFS suite interstitial 3

  • samfdeepcnv: Simplified Arakawa Schubert (SAS) Mass Flux deep convection

  • GFS_DCNV_generic_post: Postprocessor for all deep convective schemes

  • GFS_SCNV_generic_pre: Preprocessor for the GFS shallow convective schemes

  • samfshalcnv: SAS mass flux shallow convection

  • GFS_SCNV_generic_post: Postprocessor for the GFS shallow convective scheme

  • GFS_suite_interstitial_4: GFS suite interstitial 4

  • cnvc90: Convective cloud cover

  • GFS_MP_generic_pre: Preprocessor for all GFS microphysics

  • gfdl_cloud_microphys: GFDL cloud microphysics

  • GFS_MP_generic_post: Postprocessor for GFS microphysics

  • maximum_hourly_diagnostics: Computation of the maximum of the selected diagnostics

  • phys_tend: Physics tendencies