The lecture gives an overview of the design choices in the dynamical cores of atmospheric General Circulation Models (GCMs). The dynamical core is the central component of every climate and weather model. It not only encompasses the choice of the equation sets but also determines the numerical methods used to solve the equations of motion on the resolved scales. The lecture focuses on the scientific and numerical aspects in the design process. It starts by reviewing different forms of the equations and variables. Particular attention is then paid to the computational meshes, staggering options, the characteristics and accuracy of numerical discretizations, suitable time-stepping schemes and vertical coordinates.
An outlook of emerging trends and grid resolutions is given.