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Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Simulation of natural phenomena is one of the important research fields in computer graphics. In particular, clouds play an important role in creating images of outdoor scenes. Fluid simulation is effective in creating realistic clouds because clouds are the visualization of atmospheric fluid. In this paper, we propose a simulation technique, based on a numerical solution of the partial differential equation of the atmospheric fluid model, for creating animated cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds with features formed by turbulent vortices.
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EUROGRAPHICS 2002 / I. Navazo Alvaro and Ph. Slusallek Short Presentations
Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational
Fluid Dynamics
R. Miyazaki
, Y. Dobashi
, T. Nishita
,
The University of Tokyo
Hokkaido University
Abstract
Simulation of natural phenomena is one of the important research fields in computer graphics. In particular,
clouds play an important role in creating images of outdoor scenes. Fluid simulation is effective in creating
realistic clouds because clouds are the visualization of atmospheric fluid. In this paper, we propose a simulation
technique, based on a numerical solution of the partial differential equation of the atmospheric fluid model, for
creating animated cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds with features formed by turbulent vortices.
Categoriesand Subject Descriptors
(according to ACMCCS): I.3.5 [Computer Graphics]: Physically based modeling
1. Introduction
Clouds play an important role when images, such as out-
door scenes, the earth viewed from outer space and the
visualization of weather information, are generated. The
shapes of clouds depend on the environment under which
they are formed, for instance, they depend on the ascend-
ing air currents, temperature and humidity. We often observe
clouds with their various fascinating appearances, as they
change, and as they disappear with time. Therefore, many
researchers have tried to create realistic images of clouds.
An important elementin the synthetic animation of clouds
is the expression of complex cloud dynamics. The best
method to achieve this is by simulating the physical pro-
cesses, especially the atmospheric fluid dynamics, that char-
acterizes the shape of clouds. The modeling of clouds is im-
portant in other fields, such as earth science, weather fore-
casting, and so on. However simulations in these fields do
not give priority to the cloud shape, and the time and spatial
scale is too large when viewed from the ground. Moreover
accurate simulation, used in forecasting the weather, is not
necessarily demanded by computer graphics. On the other
hand, many methods using fluidsimulation for smoke, gases,
and water in computer graphics have been proposed. How-
ever, there has been little research based on physical simu-
lation of clouds, since the exact simulation of atmospheric
fluid dynamics is very difficult and computationally expen-
sive. Nevertheless, exact simulation is not important in or-
der to simulate visually convincing clouds. In this paper we
propose a simplified atmospheric fluid model. This model
allows us to create realistic cloud animation such as cumu-
lus clouds appearing and disappearing, being carried by the
wind, and cumulonimbus clouds developing into sky-high
like towers.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. First we dis-
cuss the previous work related to clouds and and the present
an outline of our methods. In the next Section we explain
cumuliform clouds simulated in this paper. In Section 3, we
discuss the basic equations of atmospheric fluid dynamics
and numerical solutions for these. In Section 4, the simula-
tion conditions and some resultant images are shown. Sec-
tion 5 concludes and discusses future work.
1.1. Previous Work
Various techniques for modeling clouds for use in com-
puter graphics have been proposed in the past 20 years.
One approach is the heuristic approach. The methods that
take this approach use fractals
9, 17, 18, 23
, procedural mod-
eling
3, 4, 56, 13, 14
, qualitative simulation
12, 16
and stochastic
modeling
20
. Although these techniques can create realistic
still images of clouds, they are limited when realistic cloud
motion is required.
Dobashi et al. developed a fast method for simulating
cloud motion using the idea of a cellular automaton
2
.In
their method, however, they use an extremely simplified
model for the physical process of cloud formation. There-
c
The Eurographics Association 2002.
Miyazaki, Dobashi, Nishita / Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics
fore, complex dynamics are not simulated and only cumu-
lus clouds are demonstrated in their paper. In image-based
modeling approach, Dobashi et al. used satellite images to
create clouds such as a typhoon as it appears viewed from
space
1
. However, using this method, clouds with the de-
sirable shapes cannot be created, and, in addition a lot of
satellite images are required.
A more natural way to model the motion of clouds is to
solve the equations of fluid dynamics directly. In computer
graphics, Kajiya et al. were the first to use numerical meth-
ods. In their method, the equations of atmospheric fluid dy-
namics are solved numerically
11
. However, this model does
not include adiabatic cooling and the temperature lapse in
simulation space, which is important for cumulus dynam-
ics. In addition, the result is not realistic. There are many
reserches of gas simulations
8, 19, 21
. Recently, Stam intro-
duced a stable fluid simulation model
22
. This was achieved
by a semi-Lagrangian advection. Because a first order in-
tegration scheme was used, the simulations suffered from
too much numerical dissipation. Although the overall mo-
tion looks fluid-like, small scale vortices vanish too rapidly.
So Fedkiw et al. introduced a physically consistent vorticity
confinement term to model the small scale rolling features
that are characteristic of smoke
7
. Their method is, however,
focused on the motion of smoke and the possibility of the
application of their method to modeling clouds is not dis-
cussed.
Miyazaki et al. improved a qualitative model of cloud
simulation
24, 25
using CML (Coupled Map Lattice). CML
is an extension of cellular automaton and is an approxima-
tion technique to reduce the calculation cost. They developed
a method that can create various clouds based on simula-
tion of ascending air current and the B
´
enard convection
15
.
Originally the CML model was designed for simulating the
B
´
enard convection. In the simulation of ascending air cur-
rents, the temperature distribution is assumed to be invari-
able in simulation space. Although the shape looks like a
cumulus cloud, the advection of the temperature that is fun-
damental to the dynamics of cumulus clouds cannot be sim-
ulated. Moreover, the CML model, whose calculation cost is
low, has a deficiency in that the fractal structure of the fluid
vortex cannot be generated.
1.2. Our Method
We propose a cloud simulation model. This includes the
phase transition and adiabatic cooling that is not included
in smoke simulation
7
. Our method can simulate more re-
alistic clouds than previous cloud models
11, 15
. Our model
simulates the interaction of the vapor, the cloud, the temper-
ature and the velocity vector. This model is very suitable for
the simulation of cumuliform clouds, where a large vertical
movement and fluid vortices are essential. In the simulation,
an ascending air current is generated due to the buoyancy
created by the heat source, which is specified by the user.
The air current carries the temperature and the vapor up-
wards. Then the vapor coagulates, and clouds are generated.
At the same time the latent heat is liberated and this creates
additional buoyancy.
After the simulation, we generate metaballs at the center
of voxels in order to render the clouds. The density at the
center of each metaball is set to the density of the cloud par-
ticles in the corresponding voxel. Then, images of clouds are
generated using the hardware-accelerated rendering method
proposed by Dobashi et al.
2
.
2. Cumuliform Clouds
The cumuliform clouds (cumulus and cumulonimbus) are
generated by strong ascending air current. The temperature
of rising air currents decreases due to adiabatic cooling, so
the vapor included in an air parcel causes a phase transition,
it coagulates, and the cloud is generated. The latent heat is
liberated at that time, resulting in further development of the
clouds. Cumuliform clouds are generally dense and have a
sharp outline like a cauliflower (see Fig. 1). Cumulonimbus
is an advanced stage of cumulus development with consid-
erable vertical extent, in the form of a mountain or a huge
tower.
Figure 1: Photographs of cumuliform clouds (left: cumulus,
right: cumulonimbus)
3. Cumuliform Cloud Simulation
The simulation space is subdivided into voxels. The number
of voxels is N
x
×N
y
×N
z
. The velocity vector v =(v
x
,y
y
,v
z
),
the vapor density w
vap
, the cloud (water droplets) density
w
cl
, and the temperature E areassigned toeach voxelas state
variables at time step t. Each state variable is updated at ev-
ery time step. The voxel width is h and the time interval is
t.
3.1. Basic Equations
The atmospheric fluid is modeled by the following partial
differential equations. We assume that the air density is con-
stant, so the atmospheric fluid is incompressible. This is
called the Boussinesq approximation
10
. For many applica-
tions of cloud in computer graphics, the Boussinesq equa-
tions are sufficient and efficient.
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The Eurographics Association 2002.
Miyazaki, Dobashi, Nishita / Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics
Dv
Dt
= −∇p+ ν∆v+ B+f, (1)
∇·v = 0, (2)
DE
Dt
= Γ
d
+ Q
Dw
cl
Dt
+ S
E
, (3)
Dw
vap
Dt
=
Dw
cl
Dt
. (4)
Eqs. (1) and (2) are the Navier-Stokes equations. Eq. (1)
is a vector equation of the velocity field. Eq. (2) is the con-
tinuity equation, meaning that it expresses the conservation
of mass. The term D/Dt = /t + v·∇ is the total deriva-
tive operator. The symbol is the gradient operator and
= ∇·∇ is the Laplacian operator. Eq. (3) is a scalar equa-
tion of the temperature and Eq. (4) is an equation of the vapor
and cloud density, where p is the pressure, nu is the viscosity
coefficient, Γ
d
is the dry adiabatic lapse rate, Q is the coeffi-
cient of latent heat, B is the buoyancyvector, f is the external
force vector,and S
E
is the heat source term.
3.2. Numerical Solution
This subsection explains a numerical method for solving
Eqs. (1)-(4) as follows.
(1) External Force
The equation for updating velocity is expressed as follows.
v
= v+ tf, (5)
where v
is the velocity vector after being updated.
(2) Viscosity Effect
The viscosity effect causes diffusion of the velocity field.
This is calculated from the following equation.
v
= v+ ν∆t
2
v, (6)
where ν is the viscosity coefficient.
(3) Advection
We use the semi-Lagrangian scheme
22
for the advection part
that corresponds to the total derivative operator D/Dt =
/t + v ·∇. The velocity field advects the state variables
(the velocity field itself v , the vapor density w
vap
, the cloud
density w
cl
, and the temperature E ). A particle at point x
is traced back over a time t and the new state variables for
point x is the state variables that the particle had one time
step before. In this simulation, we use a first order integra-
tion scheme, so the path traced back corresponds to tv , and
this path is a straight line.
(4) Pressure Effect
The pressure effect requires the concept of the conservation
of mass, that is, the pressure term requires ∇·v to be 0 in
the incompressible fluid. This is equivalent to computing the
pressure by the following Poisson equation.
2
p =
1
t
v. (7)
Eq. (7) is solved by an iterative method. The velocity vec-
tor satisfies incompressibility by subtracting the gradient of
the pressure from the velocity vector.
v
= v tp. (8)
(5) Vorticity Confinement
In the advection part, a first order integration scheme is used.
However, the simulations suffer from too much numerical
dissipation, so small scale vortices vanish too rapidly.Vortic-
ity confinement addresses this problem
7
. First the vorticity
vector generating the small scale structure is computed.
w = ∇×v. (9)
Next normalized vorticity location vectors that point from
lower to higher vorticity concentrations are computed.
N =
k
|k|
, (k = ∇|w|). (10)
Then the magnitude and direction of the added force is
computed as
f
con
= εh(v× w), (11)
where ε is the parameter controlling the amount of small
scale detail added back into the velocity vector, and h is the
voxel size. f
con
is treated as a part of the external force f of
Eq. (1).
(6) Buoyancy
The ascending air current is generated by the buoyancy. The
acceleration of this causes is expressed by the following
equation.
B = k
buo
=
E E
o
E
o
z k
g
w
cl
z. (12)
This equation indicates that the difference between the
temperatures E and E
o
causes the buoyancy. The weight of
the water droplets (i.e. cloud) is also taken into considera-
tion. E
o
is the ambient temperature, which is the temperature
of the assumed atmosphere that satisfies statics, z =(0,0, 1)
points in the upward vertical direction, k
buo
is the buoyancy
coefficient and k
g
is the gravity coefficient. E
o
is a function
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The Eurographics Association 2002.
Miyazaki, Dobashi, Nishita / Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics
of height. This is set to decrease in proportion to the height
from the bottom of the simulation space.
(7) Adiabatic Cooling
If air parcels rise, the temperature decreases in proportion to
the vertical velocity v
z
due to the adiabatic cooling.
E
= E Γ
d
tv
z
, (13)
where Γ
d
is the dry adiabatic lapse rate.
(8) Phase Transition
Cloud is generated proportional to the difference between
the vapor density and the saturation steam density in each
voxel. Then, the vapor density decreases and the temperature
increases due to the latent heat. These are expressed by the
following equations.
w
cl
= w
cl
+ tα(w
vap
w
max
), (14)
w
vap
= w
vap
tα(w
vap
w
max
), (15)
E
= E + Qtα(w
vap
w
max
), (16)
where α is the phase transition rate. Q is the coefficient of la-
tent heat. w
max
is the saturation vapor density that is a func-
tion of the temperature and is given by the following equa-
tion.
w
max
=
Aexp
Q
E+B
+C
, if > w
vap
+ w
cl
,
w
vap
+ w
cl
, otherwise,
(17)
where A, B and C are parameters for determining the phase
transition.
4. Results
4.1. Conditions of Simulation
For the initial condition, the ambient temperature is speci-
fied so that it decreases in proportion to the height from the
bottom of the simulation space. The vapor distribution is set
to decrease exponentially from the bottom, where the vapor
density is less than the saturation vapor density. These are
constant in the horizontal direction. The temperature distri-
bution is matched to the ambient temperature. A periodic
boundary condition is set in the horizontal direction and
v = 0 is set on the bottom and top of the simulation space.
Fig. 2 shows the simulation of cumuliform clouds using this
model. The user specifies the heat source, which gives the
temperature. The heat source, which can be time-variable, is
used one of the boundary conditions. In the simulation, the
ascending air current is due to the buoyancy developed as a
result of the temperature specified by the user. The temper-
ature and the vapor are carried upwards. Then the vapor co-
agulates, and clouds are generated. At the same time latent
heat is liberated and this is a factor in creating subsequent
buoyancy.
The hotter the heat source is, the stronger the air current
generated by the buoyancy is. When the density of the initial
vapor is large, a lager amount of cloud is generated. When
the latent heat is also librated. The latent heat promotes sub-
sequent cloud development. In addition, if the ambient tem-
perature lapse rate becomes large, the temperature of the as-
cending air current becomes hardly lower than ambient tem-
perature, so the cloud keeps developing. To control cloud
development, it is important to adjust the heat source, the
vapor distribution, and the ambient temperature.
Figure 2: Simulation space
4.2. Example Images
Fig. 3 shows images generated by our method. Fig. 3 (a)
shows examples of the cumulus development process in
the daytime. Fig. 3 (b) shows cumulus development in the
evening. Images at every 200 steps are shown. Fig.3 (c)
showsthe development process of cumulonimbus cloud. The
tower-like cloud is developed by the strong ascending cur-
rent. The images at every 100 steps are shown. To create
these clouds in simulation, the voxel size corresponds to
20[m]. The number of voxels is 150 × 120 × 50 for Figs.
3 (a) and (b). The calculation time for each time step of the
simulation is about 5[s]. In the case of cumulonimbus, the
number of voxels is 150× 120× 100 for Fig. 3 (c). The cal-
culation time for each time step is about 10[s]. The images
are rendered by Dobashi’s method
2
. We used a HP Visualize
(PentiumIII 1GHz) with fx10.
5. Conclusion and Future Work
In this paper we have proposed an atmospheric fluid model
in which the interaction of the vapor, the cloud, the tempera-
ture and the velocity field are taken into consideration. This
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Miyazaki, Dobashi, Nishita / Simulation of Cumuliform Clouds Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics
model includes the phase transition and adiabatic cooling not
included in smoke simulations. Our model allows us to sim-
ulate more realistic cumuliform cloud than previous cloud
models. Since the resulting clouds are obtained as a three-
dimensional density distribution, realistic clouds can be ren-
dered that take the light scattering due to cloud particles into
account.
We are investigating variants of this model to achieve
more realistic cloud dynamics and simulate other kinds of
clouds. Moreover, we want to simulate clouds where inter-
actions with geographical features take place, for instance,
mountain.
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(a)Cumulus development in daytime
(b)Cumulus development in evening
(c)Cumulonimbus development
Figure 3: Examples
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Cette thèse s’intéresse à la synthétisation de paysages naturels, et plus particulièrement, à leur portion céleste. L’aspect du ciel est gouverné par de nombreux phénomènes atmosphériques parmi lesquels les nuages jouent un rôle prépondérant car ils sont fréquemment présents et couvrent de grandes étendues. Même sans considérer directement le ciel, la densité des nuages leur permet de modifier intensément l’illumination globale d’un paysage. Les travaux de cette thèse se concentrent donc principalement sur l’édition, la modélisation et l’animation d’étendues nuageuses aux dimensions d’un paysage. Comme la simulation thermodynamique de la formation des nuages est difficilement contrôlable et que les détails du volume simulés sont rapidement limités, nous proposons plutôt une méthode par génération procédurale. Nous érigeons un modèle léger de paysage nuageux sous forme d’une hiérarchie de fonctions. Les détails les plus fins sont obtenus par composition de bruits procéduraux et reproduisent les formes de différents genres de nuages. La présence nuageuse à grande échelle est quant à elle décrite à haut niveau et à différents instants par des cartes dessinées par l’utilisateur. Ces cartes discrètes sont transformées en primitives implicites statiques ensuite interpolées par métamorphose en prenant en compte le relief et les vents pour produire des trajectoires cohérentes. Le champ implicite obtenu par mélange des primitives interpolantes constitue le champ spatiotemporel de densité nuageuse. Des images sont finalement synthétisées par rendu du milieu participatif atmosphérique selon notre propre implémentation exécutée en parallèle sur carte graphique
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