Also known as
Model type Modular
Model part of larger framework
Note on status model
Date note status model
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 2D
Spatial extent Landscape-Scale
Model domain Hydrology, Terrestrial
One-line model description Distributed hydrological model, water and energy budgets
Extended model description GEOtop accommodates very complex topography and, besides the water balance integrates all the terms in the surface energy balance equation. For saturated and unsaturated subsurface flow, it uses the 3D Richards’ equation. An accurate treatment of radiation inputs is implemented in order to be able to return surface temperature.

The model GEOtop simulates the complete hydrological balance in a continuous way, during a whole year, inside a basin and combines the main features of the modern land surfaces models with the distributed rainfall-runoff models.

The new 0.875 version of GEOtop introduces the snow accumulation and melt module and describes sub-surface flows in an unsaturated media more accurately. With respect to the version 0.750 the updates are fundamental: the codex is completely eviewed, the energy and mass parametrizations are rewritten, the input/output file set is redifined.

GEOtop makes it possible to know the outgoing discharge at the basin's closing section, to estimate the local values at the ground of humidity, of soil temperature, of sensible and latent heat fluxes, of heat flux in the soil and of net radiation, together with other hydrometeorlogical distributed variables. Furthermore it describes the distributed snow water equivalent and surface snow temperature.

GEOtop is a model based on the use of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). It makes also use of meteorological measurements obtained thought traditional instruments on the ground. Yet, it can also assimilate distributed data like those coming from radar measurements, from satellite terrain sensing or from micrometeorological models.



Name Riccardo Rigon
Type of contact Technical contact
Institute / Organization University of Trento
Postal address 1 Via Mesiano, 77
Postal address 2
Town / City Trento
Postal code I-38100
Country Italy
Email address
Phone +39-0461-882614
Fax +39-0461-882672

Name Stefano Endrizzi
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization
Postal address 1
Postal address 2
Town / City
Postal code
Email address

Name Matteo Dall'Amico
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization
Postal address 1
Postal address 2
Town / City
Postal code
Email address

Supported platforms
Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Other platform
Programming language

Fortran77, C, Java

Other program language
Code optimized Single Processor
Multiple processors implemented
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 1997
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status
When did you indicate the 'code development status'?
Model availability As code
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type Other
Program license type other --
Memory requirements Dependent on DEM size
Typical run time Depends on the lenght of the period simulated

Describe input parameters Please see:
Input format ASCII
Other input format
Describe output parameters Please see:
Output format ASCII
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? No
Describe pre-processing software
Post-processing software needed? Yes
Describe post-processing software JGrass ( for visualizing inputs/outputs. Interface with IDL, matlab and R are also being developed.
Visualization software needed? Yes
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software JGrass

Describe processes represented by the model Please have a look at:
Describe key physical parameters and equations Please give a look at
Describe length scale and resolution constraints Resolution is limited by RAM. Processes however are parametrized at a few square meter scale.
Describe time scale and resolution constraints Most forcings are required at hourly scale. Integration time step is what required by numerical algorithms to converge (depends actually on processes)
Describe any numerical limitations and issues Any of the processes modeling can be obviously improved.

Describe available calibration data sets There are few test on Rio Corda, a ten square kilometer catchment in Trentino, Italy. Simulations on Little Washita will be made available soon, too.
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets Please look at the GEOtop website:
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing The ideal data set is one as those of Panola catchment.

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers? Yes, see and the developer's website. There is also a list for users:

Information at

Is there a manual available? Yes
Upload manual if available: Media:geotop 20110719 users man.pdf
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board

This part will be filled out by CSDMS staff

OpenMI compliant No but possible
BMI compliant No but possible
WMT component No but possible
PyMT component
Is this a data component
Can be coupled with:
Model info
Riccardo Rigon
Endrizzi, Dall'Amico
Nr. of publications: 30
Total citations: 1173
h-index: 13
m-quotient: 0.65

Link to this page




Nr. of publications: 30
Total citations: 1173
h-index: 13
m-quotient: 0.65

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Rigon, Riccardo; Bertoldi, Giacomo; Over, Thomas M.; 2006. GEOtop: A Distributed Hydrological Model with Coupled Water and Energy Budgets. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 7, 371–388. 10.1175/JHM497.1
(View/edit entry)
2006 GEOtop
Model overview 260
See more publications of GEOtop



Input Files

Output Files