This code has been community reviewed and published in the open access Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS)


Also known as Clawpack
Model type Single
Model part of larger framework
Note on status model
Date note status model
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 1D, 2D
Spatial extent Continental, Global, Landscape-Scale, Patch-Scale, Reach-Scale, Regional-Scale, Watershed-Scale
Model domain Terrestrial, Coastal
One-line model description Depth-averaged fluid dynamics for modeling geophysical flows and wave propagation
Extended model description Originally developed for modeling tsunami generation, propagation, and inundation. Also used for storm surge modeling and overland flooding (e.g. dam break problems). Uses adaptive mesh refinement to allow much greater spatial resolutions in some regions than others, and to automatically follow dynamic evolution of waves or floods. Uses high-resolution finite volume methods that robustly handle wetting and drying. The package also includes tools for working with geophysical data including topography DEMs, earthquake source models for tsunami generation, and observed gauge data. The simulation code is in Fortran with OpenMP for shared memory parallelization, and Python for the user interface, visualization, and data tools.

Shallow-water model, Tsunami, storm wave,

Name Randall LeVeque
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization University of Washington
Postal address 1 Applied Mathematics Dept, Univ. of Washington
Postal address 2 Box 353925

University of Washington

Town / City Seattle
Postal code 98195-3925
State Washington
Country United States
Email address
Phone 206-685-3037

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

Fortran77, Fortran90, Python

Other program language
Code optimized Multiple Processors
Multiple processors implemented Shared memory
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 1994
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status Active
When did you indicate the 'code development status'? 2020
Model availability As code, As teaching tool
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type BSD or MIT X11
Program license type other
Memory requirements
Typical run time seconds to hours

Describe input parameters

Input format ASCII
Other input format
Describe output parameters Depth, momentum on adaptive grid at specified output times.

Time series at specified gauge locations. Maxima observed over full simulation on specified grid.

Output format ASCII, Binary
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? No
Describe pre-processing software
Post-processing software needed? No
Describe post-processing software
Visualization software needed? No
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software

Describe processes represented by the model Two-dimensional depth-averaged flows, particularly suitable for tsunami and storm surge modeling, and has also bee used for dam breaks and flooding of river valleys.
Describe key physical parameters and equations Nonlinear shallow water equations in conservation form are solved, with a Manning coefficient used to specify bottom friction. Coriolis terms can also be turned on. Multi-layer shallow water equations are also implemented. Equations can be solved in latitude-longitude coordinates on the sphere or in Cartesian coordinates, e.g. for limited-area or wave tank modeling. Wetting and drying algorithms handle inundation.
Describe length scale and resolution constraints Adaptive refinement allows using a very coarse grid on the ocean scale (e.g. 2 degree resolution) and several nested levels of refinement down to e.g. 1/3 arc-second (10 meter) resolution in specific coastal regions.
Describe time scale and resolution constraints Time steps are limited by CFL condition based on depth of fluid. Finer grids can automatically refine to use finer resolution in time than the underlying coarse grids.
Describe any numerical limitations and issues Currently only shallow water equations are solved, using explicit finite volume methods. High order Boussinesq equations to better model dispersive waves (e.g. for short wavelength submarine landslide generated tsunamis) would require implicit time stepping and is still in the experimental phase.

Describe available calibration data sets
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers? We welcome collaboration and have many on-going projects.
Is there a manual available? Yes
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board!forum/claw-users


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
Nr. of publications: 35
Total citations: 993
h-index: 14
m-quotient: 0.93

Link to this page




Nr. of publications: 35
Total citations: 993
h-index: 14
m-quotient: 0.93

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Berger, Marsha J.; George, David L.; LeVeque, Randall J.; Mandli, Kyle T.; 2011. The GeoClaw software for depth-averaged flows with adaptive refinement. Advances in Water Resources, 34, 1195–1206. 10.1016/j.advwatres.2011.02.016
(View/edit entry)
2011 GeoClaw
Model overview 212
See more publications of GeoClaw



Input Files

Output Files