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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 8 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 3481-3496, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-3481-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development and technical paper 30 Aug 2018

Development and technical paper | 30 Aug 2018

The Variable Infiltration Capacity model version 5 (VIC-5): infrastructure improvements for new applications and reproducibility

Joseph J. Hamman1,a, Bart Nijssen1, Theodore J. Bohn2, Diana R. Gergel1, and Yixin Mao1 Joseph J. Hamman et al.
  • 1Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
  • anow at: Hydrometeorological Applications Program, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model is a macroscale semi-distributed hydrologic model. VIC development began in the early 1990s and the model has since been used extensively for basin- to global-scale applications that include hydrologic dataset construction, trend analysis of hydrologic fluxes and states, data evaluation and assimilation, forecasting, coupled climate modeling, and climate change impact assessment. Ongoing operational applications of the VIC model include the University of Washington's drought monitoring and forecasting systems and NASA's Land Data Assimilation System. This paper documents the development of VIC version 5 (VIC-5), which includes a major reconfiguration of the legacy VIC source code to support a wider range of modern hydrologic modeling applications. The VIC source code has been moved to a public GitHub repository to encourage participation by the broader user and developer communities. The reconfiguration has separated the core physics of the model from the driver source code, whereby the latter is responsible for memory allocation, preprocessing and post-processing, and input–output (I–O). VIC-5 includes four drivers that use the same core physics modules, but which allow for different methods for accessing this core to enable different model applications. Finally, VIC-5 is distributed with robust test infrastructure, components of which routinely run during development using cloud-hosted continuous integration. The work described here provides an example to the model development community for extending the life of a legacy model that is being used extensively. The development and release of VIC-5 represents a significant step forward for the VIC user community in terms of support for existing and new model applications, reproducibility, and scientific robustness.

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Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) is a widely used hydrologic model. This paper documents the development of VIC version 5, which includes a reconfiguration of the model source code to support a wider range of modeling applications. It also represents a significant step forward for the VIC user community in terms of support for a range of modeling applications, reproducibility, and scientific robustness.
Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) is a widely used hydrologic model. This paper documents the...
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