Also known as
Model type Single
Model part of larger framework
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 2D
Spatial extent Landscape-Scale
Model domain Coastal, Hydrology
One-line model description Reduced complexity river delta formation and evolution model with channel dynamics
Extended model description pyDeltaRCM is the Python version of DeltaRCM ( by Man Liang (also available from the CSDMS model repository). This version is a WMT component but can also be run as a stand-alone model (see

DeltaRCM is a parcel-based cellular flux routing and sediment transport model for the formation of river deltas, which belongs to the broad category of rule-based exploratory models. It has the ability to resolve emergent channel behaviors including channel bifurcation, avulsion and migration. Sediment transport distinguishes two types of sediment: sand and mud, which have different transport and deposition/erosion rules. Stratigraphy is recorded as the sand fraction in layers. Best usage of DeltaRCM is the investigation of autogenic processes in response to external forcings.


delta evolution, cellular automata, coastal morphodynamics,

First name Mariela
Last name Perignon
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization University of Colorado / CSDMS
Postal address 1
Postal address 2
Town / City Boulder
Postal code 80303
State Colorado
Country United States
Email address

Supported platforms Unix, Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Other platform
Programming language Python
Other program language
Code optimized Single Processor
Multiple processors implemented
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 2016
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, 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 Hours

Describe input parameters Modify parameters in example input file deltaRCM.yaml included in repository. Run with example script

Modify water/sediment discharge (as number of parcels), grid size and spacing, basin geometry, mud/sand ratio, etc

Input format
Other input format YAML
Describe output parameters Toggle on/off in input file:

- PNG files of eta, stage, depth - grids of eta, stage, depth (as netCDF4) - grids of sand fraction in stratigraphy (as netCDF4)

Output format
Other output format netCDF
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 Flux routing and sediment transport for the formation of river deltas. Resolves channel bifurcations, avulsion and migration. Can simulate subsidence (default basin-like shape, modify the Python code to customize). Can store stratigraphy (as sand fraction and thickness).
Describe key physical parameters and equations [[Describe key physical parameters::See publications associated with DeltaRCM (in CSDMS model repository)]]
Describe length scale and resolution constraints Domain should be 10s of Kms in x and y. Cell spacing should be 10s of meters.
Describe time scale and resolution constraints Sediment and water discharge come from some physical parameters and the number of parcels chosen for each timestep. Set the number of parcels for both water and sediment to 1000s for improved resolution and speed.
Describe any numerical limitations and issues Model should never be numerically unstable but its behavior depends on ratios of various parameters. If the model seems to not be "doing anything", look at the parameter initialization functions in

Describe available calibration data sets An intercomparison of the Matlab and Python versions of DeltaRCM is in the works.
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?
Is there a manual available? No
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board Installation and execution instructions can be found in the file of the GitHub repository.

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: --
Total citations: 0
h-index: --"--" is not a number.
Qrcode PyDeltaRCM.png
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Nr. of publications: --
Total citations: 0
h-index: --"--" is not a number.

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