Creating GEOS-Chem run directories

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On this page we show you how to use the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester to generate and use fresh copies of run directories for your GEOS-Chem simulations.

Downloading the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester

First, make sure that your system has these software packages installed. (Most of these come standard with your Unix-based operating system.)

Next, clone the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester package with the command:

git clone UT

This will create a copy of the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester package in a directory named UT for short.

NOTE: The Git clone process may take a few minutes to complete depending on your connection speed.

--Bob Yantosca (talk) 15:12, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Available run directories

Benchmark run directory

The GEOS-Chem Unit Tester includes a run directory called 4x5_standard (GEOS-Chem v11-01 and later) or geosfp_4x5_benchmark (GEOS-Chem v10-01). The standard GEOS-Chem benchmark simulation utilizes the GEOS-FP met fields (4° x 5 °, 72 levels) with the UCX tropospheric-stratospheric chemistry mechanism and secondary organic aerosols included.

To reproduce our latest 1-month benchmark simulation for v11-01, you can edit the CopyRunDirs.input file so that the following line is uncommented under RUNS:

 geosfp   4x5         -      standard     2013070100   2013080100   -

Make sure to check the start and end date so that your simulation will run for July 2013. You can then create the GEOS-Chem benchmark run directory by typing ./gcCopyRunDirs. Navigate to your the newly created geosfp_4x5_benchmark run directory. To compile and run your benchmark simulation, type:

make -j4 mp

To compile only, type:

make -j4 mpbuild

That will create a executable file that you can use to submit your GEOS-Chem benchmark simulation to a queue system.

NOTE: If you are compiling GEOS-Chem within the code directory, and not within a run directory created from the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester, you will need to pass the UCX=y option in your make command.

--Melissa Sulprizio (talk) 19:38, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Other run directories

Run directories are provided for a combination of met field, grid, and simulation type and are named accordingly. For more details on the simulation types, please see our GEOS-Chem chemistry mechanism wiki page.

The following table summarizes the run directories that are available in the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester. Please choose the run directories that are most relevant for your research.

Met field(s) Grid Standard Tropchem UCX SOA SOA-SVPOA AcidUptake MarinePOA RRTMG RnPbBe Hg tagHg POPs tagCO tagO3 CH4 CO2 aerosol TOMAS15 TOMAS40
Nested grid simulations:
GEOS-FP 025x03125
GEOS-FP 025x03125
GEOS-5 05x0666
GEOS-5 05x0666
GEOS-4 4x5
GCAP 4x5


Run directory is available
Run directory is in need of updating
Run directory is obsolete
Run directory is not available

--Melissa Sulprizio (talk) 20:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Editing the CopyRunDirs.input file

Once you have downloaded the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester to your disk space, switch to the perl/ directory:

cd UT/perl

In this directory there is a Perl script named gcCopyRunDirs that you will use to generate fresh copies of GEOS-Chem run directories. This script uses an input file named CopyRunDirs.input, which is also located in the perl directory.

IMPORTANT: The CopyRunDirs.input file that comes with the Unit Tester provides only a small sample of the possible run directories that you can create. You can add as many entries to the RUNS section as you wish. See the UnitTest.input file for a complete list of all possible run directories that you can add to CopyRunDirs.input.

Your CopyRunDirs.input file will look something like this:

#                  GEOS-Chem Global Chemical Transport Model                  !
# !DESCRIPTION: Input file that specifies configuration for creating and
#  copying a run directory from the UnitTester. 
#  For a complete description of how to customize the settings in the
#  INPUTS and RUNS sections, see the following wiki posts:
#  18 Mar 2015 - R. Yantosca - Initial version
#  19 Mar 2015 - E. Lundgren - Simplify content for only copying run dirs
#  19 May 2015 - R. Yantosca - Now can specify VERBOSE and WARNINGS options
# %%% ID tags %%%
   VERSION        : v11-01
   DESCRIPTION    : Create run directory from UnitTest
# %%% Data path and HEMCO settings %%%
   DATA_ROOT      : /n/holylfs/EXTERNAL_REPOS/GEOS-CHEM/gcgrid/data/ExtData
   VERBOSE        : 0
   WARNINGS       : 1
# %%% Unit tester path names %%%
   RUN_ROOT       : {UTROOT}/runs
   RUN_DIR        : {RUNROOT}/{RUNDIR}
   PERL_DIR       : {UTROOT}/perl
# %%% Target directory and copy command %%%
   COPY_PATH      : {HOME}/GC/rundirs
   COPY_CMD       : cp -rfL
# !RUNS:
#  Specify the runs directories that you want to copy below.
#  Here we provide a few examples, but you may copy additional entries from
#  UnitTest.input and modify the dates as needed. You can deactivate copying
#  run certain directories by commenting them out with "#".
  geosfp   4x5         -      standard     2013070100   2013080100   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      gc_timing    2013070100   2013070800   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      tropchem     2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      soa          2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      soa_svpoa    2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      aciduptake   2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      UCX          2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      RRTMG        2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      RnPbBe       2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      Hg           2013010100   2013010101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      POPs         2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      TOMAS40      2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      CH4          2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      tagO3        2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   4x5         -      tagCO        2013070100   2013070101   -
# geosfp   2x25        -      CO2          2013070100   201307010030 -
# geosfp   4x5         -      aerosol      2013070100   2013070101   - 
# geosfp   025x03125   ch     tropchem     2013070100   201307010010 -
# geosfp   025x03125   na     tropchem     2013070100   201307010010 -
# gchp     4x5         -      tropchem     2013070100   2013070101   -

NOTE: Lines starting with a # character will be treated as comments.

The CopyRunDirs.input file has a layout that is very similar to the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester input files (UnitTest.input located within this directory). Like the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester input files, CopyRunDirs.input is composed of an INPUTS section and a RUNS section, which are described below.

Section 1: INPUTS

Under the INPUTS section, you can customize the directory paths and other options for your system. Each configurable input is described in the table below.

Option Description
VERSION An ID tag that will be added to all log files and output files.
DESCRIPTION A short (1-sentence) description of the purpose of this specific file (optional). This may be used to differentiate different input files, such as if you pre-configure several for future re-use.
DATA_ROOT Specifies the path for your root-level data directory.
HEMCO_ROOT Specifies the top-level path for the HEMCO data directory tree.
  • The {DATAROOT} token in HEMCO_ROOT will be replaced with the value you specify for RUN_ROOT option.

Leave this as-is.

VERBOSE Specifies the level of debug output that will be sent to the HEMCO log file. (0=no debug output; 3=max debug output)
  • Recommended setting: 0
WARNINGS Specifies the level of warning messages that will be sent to the HEMCO log file. (0=no warnings; 3=max warnings)
  • Recommended setting: 1
UNIT_TEST_ROOT Specifies the path to the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester.
RUN_ROOT Specifies the top-level unit test run directories.

Leave this as-is.

RUN_DIR Specifies the run directory subdirectory.

Leave this as-is.

PERL_DIR Specifies the directory where the unit test Perl scripts are found.

Leave this as-is.

COPY_PATH Specifies the directory on your disk server where copies of the GEOS-Chem run directories will be created.
COPY_CMD Specifies the command used to copy run directories from the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester to COPY_PATH.
  • The default setting is cp -rfL. This will create a new copy of the directory, even if the prior copy exists.
  • The -L option to the cp will create "hard" copies of files that are symbolic links. This command may differ slightly depending on the flavor of your Unix-based Operating system.

Section 2: RUNS

The layout of the RUNS section is identical to the RUNS section in the GEOS-Chem Unit Tester input file. This enables copying and pasting simulation settings text from UnitTest.input into CopyRunDirs.input.

For example, the following line:

# !RUNS:
#  Specify the debugging runs that you want to perform below.
#  You can deactivate runs by commenting them out with "#".
  geosfp   4x5         -      standard     2013070100   2013080100   -

will tell the gcCopyRunDirs script to create a run directory for a GEOS-Chem simulation with the following settings:

The date range will be used to initialize the input.geos file that is read during a GEOS-Chem simulation. Once the run directory is created, you may edit these dates within the input.geos file. Note, however, that time ranges must remain within the time range covered by the MET field you are using. You can check the MET field temporal coverage on the GMAO met data products wiki page. Also note that we recommend using the restart files to spin up GEOS-Chem for at least one year prior to your simulation start date. You may use the resulting output restart files as initial values for your simulation.

You can add as many entries to the RUNS section as you wish. See the UnitTest.input file for a complete list of all possible run directories entries that you can add to CopyRunDirs.input.

Generating a GEOS-Chem Run Directory

Once you have edited the CopyRunDirs.input script to your liking, you can use that to generate fresh copies of GEOS-Chem run directories. Make sure you are in the perl directory, and then type:


If you do not pass a file name to gcCopyRunDirs, then the gcCopyRunDirs script will use the CopyRunDirs.input file that you just modified.

If you wish, you can create many customized copies of CopyRunDirs.input. For example, suppose you edit CopyRunDirs.input to generate a full-chemistry run directory. You can then save it as a separate file and use it explicitly with gcCopyRunDirs.

cp CopyRunDirs.input CopyRunDirs.fullchem   # Input file set up to only copy the full-chemistry run directories
gcCopyRunDirs CopyRunDirs.Hg                 

Executing gcCopyRunDirs will create a new GEOS-Chem run directory corresponding to each entry that you specified in the input file RUNS section. Each run directory will be created as a subdirectory of COPY_PATH that you specified in the input file INPUTS section.

Let's examine the contents of a sample geosfp_4x5_standard run directory. Navigate to your newly created run directory and tssue the following commands:

make fileclean                       # Remove any files left over from previous unit test runs

ls -1                                # Get directory listing

And you will see this directory listing:


NOTE: Run directories for other simulations may contain other files not pictured here.

The input.geos and HEMCO_Config.rc files have been customized for this particular simulation. They were created from the corresponding template files input.geos.template and HEMCO_Config.template in the Unit Tester. The Perl script getRunInfo is used by the Makefile to extract information about the simulation from input.geos. HEMCO and tracer restart files are also included in every run directory but care must be taken when using them. See the section below for more information about restart files.

Important Notes About Restart Files

Please see this post on the GEOS-Chem basics wiki page for more information about how to obtain sample restart files for your simulations.

Tips and tricks for creating run directories

  • You can create a run directory for the nested grid simulations from a 4° x 5° or 2° x 2.5° run directory by following these steps:
    1. Modify the input.geos file for the nested grid simulation. Complete instructions can be found on this wiki page.
    2. Regrid the restart file(s) using the GAMAP regridding routines. For example, REGRIDH_RESTART can be used to regrid the tracer restart file from one horizontal resolution to another. You can then use CREATE_NESTED to crop the restart file to your nested domain (CH, EU, or NA).
  • If you would like to run a simulation and the run directory is not available in the Unit Tester, you can follow these steps:
    1. Modify the input.geos file for your simulation type following the relevant checklist in Chapter 6 of the GEOS-Chem Manual.
    2. Create a "fake" restart file using GAMAP routine MAKE_RESTART.
    3. Alternatively, you can send an email to the relevant Working Group to see if another member can provide you with a run directory or restart file.

--Melissa Sulprizio (talk) 18:42, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Compiling GEOS-Chem

Starting in v11-01, you can now compile GEOS-Chem directory from the run directory. See theGEOS-Chem Makefile Structure wiki page wiki page for more information about compiling GEOS-Chem and using the run directory Makefile.

--Lizzie Lundgren (talk) 15:07, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

GEOS-Chem Output Files

Once the GEOS-Chem simulation is complete, you will see several new files in the run directory. Some of these are generated for all simulations while others may be simulation-dependent. For more information, see our GEOS-Chem Output Files wiki page.

--Melissa Sulprizio (talk) 22:25, 5 February 2016 (UTC)