Within the mixed FEM, the mini-element that uses a bubble shape function for the solution of the shallow water wave equations on triangle meshes is simplified to a sparse element formulation. The new formulation has linear shape functions for water levels and constant shape functions for velocities inside each element. The suppression of decoupled spurious solutions is excellent with the new scheme.
The linear dispersion relation of the new element has similar advantages as that of the wave equation scheme (generalised wave continuity scheme) proposed by Lynch and Gray. It is shown that the relation is monotonic over all wave numbers. In this paper, the time stepping scheme is included in the dispersion analysis. In case of a combined space–time staggering, the dispersion relation can be improved for the shortest waves.
The sparse element is applied in the flow model Bubble that conserves mass exactly. At the same time, because of the limited number of degrees of freedom, the computational efficiency is high. The scheme is not restricted to orthogonal triangular meshes.
Three test cases demonstrate the very good accuracy of the proposed scheme. The examples are the classical quarter annulus test case for the linearised shallow water equations, the hydraulic jump and the tide in the Elbe river mouth. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.