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Volume 11, issue 9 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 3781-3794, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 18 Sep 2018

Model description paper | 18 Sep 2018

sympl (v. 0.4.0) and climt (v. 0.15.3) – towards a flexible framework for building model hierarchies in Python

Joy Merwin Monteiro1, Jeremy McGibbon2, and Rodrigo Caballero1 Joy Merwin Monteiro et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Atmospheric Sciences–Geophysics (ATG) Building, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1640, USA

Abstract. sympl (System for Modelling Planets) and climt (Climate Modelling and Diagnostics Toolkit) are an attempt to rethink climate modelling frameworks from the ground up. The aim is to use expressive data structures available in the scientific Python ecosystem along with best practices in software design to allow scientists to easily and reliably combine model components to represent the climate system at a desired level of complexity and to enable users to fully understand what the model is doing.

sympl is a framework which formulates the model in terms of a state that gets evolved forward in time or modified within a specific time by well-defined components. sympl's design facilitates building models that are self-documenting, are highly interoperable, and provide fine-grained control over model components and behaviour. sympl components contain all relevant information about the input they expect and output that they provide. Components are designed to be easily interchanged, even when they rely on different units or array configurations. sympl provides basic functions and objects which could be used in any type of Earth system model.

climt is an Earth system modelling toolkit that contains scientific components built using sympl base objects. These include both pure Python components and wrapped Fortran libraries. climt provides functionality requiring model-specific assumptions, such as state initialization and grid configuration. climt's programming interface designed to be easy to use and thus appealing to a wide audience.

Model building, configuration and execution are performed through a Python script (or Jupyter Notebook), enabling researchers to build an end-to-end Python-based pipeline along with popular Python data analysis and visualization tools.

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Short summary
In the same way that the fruit fly or the yeast cell serve as model systems in biology, climate scientists use a range of computer models to gain a fundamental understanding of our climate system. These models range from extremely simple models that can run on your phone to those that require supercomputers. Sympl and climt are packages that make it easy for climate scientists to build a hierarchy of such models using Python, which facilitates easy to read and self-documenting models.
In the same way that the fruit fly or the yeast cell serve as model systems in biology, climate...