Fixed grid monitoring


This feature has been modified and this documentation describes the version introduced in 5.2.0. The documentation is also still incomplete.

GeoClaw has the capability to monitor certain quantities on a specified “fixed grid” by interpolating from the AMR grids active at each time step, or at specified time increments. This is useful in particular to record the maximum flow depth observed at each point over the course of a computation, or the maximum flow velocity, momentum, or momentum flux. These quantities are often of interest in hazard modeling.

It is also possible to record the arrival time of a flow or wave at each point on the grid.

The “grids” do not have to be rectangular grids aligned with the coordinate directions, but can consist of an arbitrary list of points that could also be points along a one-dimensional transect or points following a coastline, for example.

Each grid is specified by an input file in a specified form described below. The list of file names for desired grids is specified in the setrun function, see Fixed grid maximum monitoring / arrival times.

This is an improved version of the algorithms used in earlier versions of GeoClaw, and now correctly interpolates when a grid point lies near the junction of two grid patches, which was not always handled properly before. The earlier version can still be used for outputing results at intermediate times on a fixed grid (see Fixed grid output), but is not recommended for the purpose of monitoring maxima or arrival times.

Input file specification

(changed in Clawpack 5.2.0.)

The input file describing a grid of points has the following form:


followed by additional lines that depend on the value of point_style.

If point_style == 0, an arbitrary collection of (x,y) points is allowed and all must be listed, preceeded by the number of points:

npts      # number of points
x1 y1     # first point
x2 y2     # second point
...       # etc.

These points need not lie on a regular grid and can be specified in any order.

If point_style == 1, a 1-dimensional transect of points is specified by three lines of the form:

npts       # number of points to generate
x1, y1     # first point
x2, y2     # last point

If point_style == 2, a 2-dimensional cartesian of points is specified by three lines of the form:

nx, ny     # number of points in x and y  (nx by ny grid)
x1, y1     # lower left corner of cartesian grid
x2, y2     # upper right corner of cartesian grid

The output files will list values for the points in the same order as in the input file. See fgmax_processing for some hints on processing and plotting the results.

The other paramters in the input file are:

  • tstart_max : float

    starting time to monitor maximum

  • tend_max : float

    ending time to monitor maximum

  • dt_check : float

    time increment for monitoring maximum and arrivals. Interpolate to fixed grid and update values only if the time since the last updating exceeds this time increment. Set to 0 to monitor every time step.

  • min_level_check : integer

    Minimum AMR level to check for updating the maximum value observed and the arrival time. Care must be taken in selecting this value since the maximum observed when interpolating to a point from a coarse AMR level may be much larger than the value that would be seen on a fine grid that better resolves the topography at this point. Often AMR “regions” are used to specify that a fine grid at some level L should always be used in the region of interest over the time period from start_max to tend_max, and then it is natural to set min_level_check to L.

  • arrival_tol : float

    The time reported as the “arrival time” is the first time the value of the surface elevation is greater than sea_level + arrival_tol.

Values to monitor

The values to be monitored are specified by the subroutine fgmax_values. The default subroutine found in the library $CLAW/geoclaw/src/2d/shallow/fgmax_values.f90 is now set up to monitor the depth h (rather than the value eta_tilde used in Version 5.1) and optionally will also monitor the speed \(s = \sqrt{u^2 + v^2}\) and three other quantities (the momentum \(hs\), the momentum flux \(hs^2\), and \(-h\), which is useful to monitor the minimum depth at each point).

The values monitored by the default routine described above is determined by the value of the fgmax_module variable FG_NUM_VAL, which can be set to 1, 2, or 5. This value is now read in from the data file and can be set by specifying the value of rundata.fgmax_data.num_fgmax_val in

Choice of interpolation procedure

The library routine geoclaw/src/2d/shallow/fgmax_interpolate.f90 has been improved in 5.2.0 to fix some bugs. This routine does bilinear interpolation the finite volume grid centers to the fixed grid in order to update the maximum of values such as depth or velocity.

An alternative version of this routine has been added in 5.2.0 that does piecewise constant interpolation instead. This simply uses the value in the finite volume grid cell that contains the fixed grid point (0 order extrapolation) and avoids problems sometimes seen when doing linear interpolation near the margins of the flow.

This routine is in fgmax_interpolate0.f90 and is now recommended. To use this routine, modify the Makefile in an application directory to replace the line

$(GEOLIB)/fgmax_interpolate.f90 \


$(GEOLIB)/fgmax_interpolate0.f90 \

Processing and plotting fgmax output

For an example see apps/tsunami/chile2010_fgmax in the Clawpack Applications repository. To obtain this, see Clawpack Applications repository.

Describe further.