GEOS-Chem welcome letter for new users

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Welcome to the GEOS-Chem user community! Here is a quick guide to getting started:

Mission statement

GEOS-Chem Community Mission: to advance understanding of human and natural influences on the environment
through a comprehensive, state-of-the-science, readily accessible global model of atmospheric composition.

GEOS-Chem overview

Please see the GEOS-Chem overview, Narrative description of GEOS-Chem, and GEOS-Chem licensing web pages.

GEOS-Chem Support Team

The GEOS-Chem Support Team (aka GCST) is responsible for developing and maintaining the GEOS-Chem and GEOS-Chem Adjoint codes for the user community. They may be reached by email at geos-chem-support [at]

Please also see our Submitting GEOS-Chem support requests wiki page for a checklist of items that you should include when contacting the GCST for assistance.

Expectations and Responsibilities for GEOS-Chem users

The following sections describe the responsibilities that we expect from each GEOS-Chem user.

Required hardware and software

If you (or your user group) plans to run GEOS-Chem on your local computer system, we expect that you will have the required hardware and software available to run GEOS-Chem. If you are not sure what hardware or software is available to you, then please check with your local IT department.

If you do not have sufficient local computational resources (or if you require additional computational resources for specific projects), then we invite you to explore how you can run GEOS-Chem on the Amazon Web Services cloud computing environment. Please see our tutorial for more information.

Computer language proficiency

We expect that each GEOS-Chem user will possess at least some familiarity with the following:

  • The Fortran programming language (F77 OK, F90 preferred)
  • IDL (preferred), or other graphics software (e.g. Splus, Matlab)
  • The Unix environment (i.e. commands, file paths, etc.)
  • Unix scripts (not strictly required but is very helpful to know!)
  • How version control works

While we cannot provide you with general instruction in programming languages or answer general programming questions, we invite you to view the list of tutorials and other relevant resources listed on our GEOS-Chem basics page.

Being a member of the GEOS-Chem community

We ask that all new GEOS-Chem user groups submit a short research blurb (1 paragraph) about how you plan to use GEOS-Chem in your research. We will add this to our GEOS-Chem People and Projects web page. Please send your research blurb to the GEOS-Chem Support Team.

We also ask that each GEOS-Chem user join the Working Group that is most relevant to his/her area of research. The Working Groups are meant to foster communication and information sharing between GEOS-Chem users, as well as to identify priorities for model development to the GEOS-Chem Steering Committee. Please introduce yourself to the Working Group Chairperson(s) and sign up for the relevant email list(s).

Each GEOS-Chem user is expected to adhere to our list of best practices. In particular, if you should discover a problem (e.g. bugs, missing files, numerical issues, etc.), please bring that to the attention of the GEOS-Chem support team right away. Other GEOS-Chem users will most certainly benefit from your discovery!

Please consider reporting your timing results from a 7-day time test to the GEOS-Chem Support Team. This will allow us to keep a list of how the model is performing across several different platform/compiler combinations.

Subscribing to the GEOS-Chem email lists

We use several GEOS-Chem email lists to share information among the user community:

  • We send information about new GEOS-Chem releases, bug fixes, and other notices of importance to the the GEOS-Chem "general" email list (geos-chem [at]
  • Each GEOS-Chem Working Group uses its own email list to exchange information between group members.

We invite you to join the Working Group that is most appropriate to your research, and to subscribe to the relevant email list. Consider joining more than one Working Group email list if your research spans several topics.

For complete instructions on how to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the GEOS-Chem email lists, please see our Subscribing to the GEOS-Chem email lists wiki page.

Participating in GEOS-Chem code development

As a member of the GEOS-Chem user community, we expect that you will submit your mature code revisions to the GEOS-Chem Support Team so that they can be included in a future release of GEOS-Chem. We invite you to read our How GEOS-Chem code development works wiki post for more information about the process.

For more detailed information about coding and debugging, see below.

What you need to run GEOS-Chem

Before getting started with GEOS-Chem, please take a moment to read this list of prerequisites on our GEOS-Chem basics wiki page. This is a list of items that you will have to have on your computer system before in order to run GEOS-Chem.

Where you can find GEOS-Chem documentation

We invite you to read our summary of GEOS-Chem documentation on our GEOS-Chem basics wiki page. This table lists topics that can be found on the GEOS-Chem website and wiki.

GEOS-Chem code development and debugging

We have prepared some helpful resources to help you write and debug new GEOS-Chem code. Please see:


Happy modeling!

The GEOS-Chem Support Team