Terrestrial Systems Modelling Platform (TSMP)

Regional Earth system model


The Terrestrial System Modeling Platform (TSMP) is a scale-consistent, highly modular, massively parallel, fully integrated soil-vegetation-atmosphere modeling system.

TSMP implements a physically-based representation of transport processes of water, energy and momentum across scales down to sub-km resolution including explicit feedbacks between groundwater, the land surface and atmosphere with a focus on the terrestrial hydrological and energy cycles. TSMP currently comprises three component models: The Consortium for Small-scale Modeling (COSMO) atmospheric model, the Comunity Land Model (CLM), and the hydrologic model ParFlow ParFlow coupled with OASIS3-MCT coupler and data assimilation capabilities through the Parallel Data Assimilation Framework (PDAF).

TSMP is extensively used for idealized and real data process and sensitivity studies in water cycle research, for climate change simulations, data assimilation studies including reanalyses, as well as experimental real time forecasting and monitoring simulations, ranging from individual catchments to continental model domains.


TSMP provides all features of the respective component models and tries to follow ongoing component model developments continuously.

  • Holistic representation of complex interactions among the non-linearly coupled compartments of the geo-ecosystem
  • Simulation of variably saturated/saturated groundwater and surface water flow
  • Multiple Program Multiple Data (MPMD) execution model
  • Suitable for independently developed codes
  • Temporal sub-cycling and averaging, grid interpolation
  • Downscaling option implemented
  • Various configuration options (component models either standalone and combinations, CLM+ParFlow, COSMO+CLM)
  • PDAF parallel data assimilation for various states and fluxes of the land surface and the subsurface compartment (e.g., soil moisture)
  • Extensive automated testing framework that follows best software design practices
  • Production use on various HPC architectures (Intel Xeon, AMD, IBM BG/Q), capability to run also on a multi-core notebook
  • Excellent parallel scalability
  • Continuous HPC optimisations
  • Compile-ready under Ubuntu GNU/Linux OS using GCC compilers and any HPC Linux OS with GCC or Intel C and Fortran compilers installed
ParFlow system schematic

Under development

  • Integration of CLM v5.0
  • Testing on modular supercomputing infrastructures, combining CPU cluster and Xeon Phi booster at JSC
  • Extensive ParFlow code modernisation efforts ongoing, see https://www.parflow.org
  • Integrated water management including pumping, irrigation and diversions
  • ...
ParFlow water management

Some example applications of TSMP

Initial presentation of the functionalities of the fully coupled TSMP The capabilities of the coupled in systems are presented through idealized studies on key hydrologic processes (runoff production at different hydrological modeling scales, water table changes through groundwater pumping) and their interplay with processes in the atmospheric boundary layer. First real data experiments over the Rur river catchment are also presented.

Groundwater-land surface-atmosphere feedbacks during the European 2003 heat wave This study applies TSMP for the first time over the 12km European EURO-CORDEX EUR-11 domain during the 2003 heat wave event in order to investigate the effects of various lower boundary conditions and physical groundwater representations (full 3D vs free drainage) on land-atmosphere coupling, i.e. soil moisture-temperature feedbacks specifically.

Implementation of PDAF data assimilation into TSMP A synthetic case study for a land surface–subsurface system (0.8 million unknowns) is used to demonstrate the effects of data assimilation in the integrated model TSMP and to assess the scaling behaviour of the data assimilation system.

Pan-European groundwater-to-atmosphere climatology This study provides the first simulated long-term (23 years), high-resolution terrestrial groundwater-to-atmosphere climatology, comprising all variables from groundwater across the land surface into the atmosphere. The data set offers an unprecedented opportunity to test hypotheses related to short- and long-range range feedback processes in space and time between different compartments of the terrestrial system. The dataset is available for download through the Data Publication Server Forschungszentrum Juelich. TSMP has been driven by ERA-Interim reanalysis on the EURO-CORDEX EUR-11 grid from 1989 to 2018, adhering to the simulation protocol of the EURO-CORDEX evaluation runs. Extensive postprocessed model outputs are available through the datapub repository of the Juelich Supercomputing Centre: https://datapub.fz-juelich.de/slts/cordex/index.html.

TSMP as a regional and continental monitoring and forecasting system In this study TSMP is implemented over a 1km convection permitting resolution model domain over North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and a second, European model domain at 12km. We document the complete monitoring and forecasting workflow. The experimental forecasting products provide complementary, additional variables, such as plant available soil water, groundwater table depth, and groundwater recharge and storage, which are usually not available.


TSMP is an open-source, community integrated model that is freely available through one of our local git repositories (GitHub to come). Starting in 2010, it was developed within the Collaborative Research Centre (TR32) project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Ever since then, TSMP development has been driven by groups within the Centre for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems, as part of the Geoverbund ABC/J, the geoscientific network of the University of Cologne, Bonn University, RWTH Aachen University, and the Research Centre Jülich. The current team is anchored in Jülich and Bonn.


Getting Started

TSMP is a coupled model, which connects independently developed component models via an external coupler. What we provide, due to licensing constraints and model system maintenance necessities, as the TSMP "model system" is essentially a complete built system, incl. all relevant scripts and software patches to retrieve the various component models, patch them to make them TSMP compatible and compile them into the TSMP model system including run control scripts and test setups. Only a limited number of model version combinations are supported, albeit featuring usually very recent if not the most recent component model versions. A complete table is to come soon. For example a very commonly used combination of component models in past studies with TSMP v1.1.0 has been COSMO v4.21, CLM v3.5, and ParFlow v3.1. Please note while we provide a scripting solution to retrieve the suitable versions of the respective component models, the users themselves have to take care of having the appropriate license.

Getting TSMP

TSMP is available as open source code for free from our local git repository at Bonn University (https://git2.meteo.uni-bonn.de/projects/terrsysmp), including documentation, pre- and post-processing tools, as well as example test cases that feature different model uses to get started. The git repository is right now still private, please register on the webpage to get access.


TSMP is released under the MIT license.

Citing TSMP

If you use TSMP in a publication, please cite the these papers that describe the model's basic functionalities:

Bug reports and feature requests

To report bugs, request features, or ask a question in relation to model implementation or usage, please send an e-mail to tsmp@fz-juelich.de. Please note that TSMP is a community supported research code and while we will attempt to answer questions your patience is appreciated.


The individual component models documentations are fully applicable as each component model still uses its own namelist, etc. Hence to use TSMP these manuals are an absolute requirement:


List of publications that use TSMP:

  1. Keune, J., Sulis, M., Kollet, S., Siebert, S., and Wada, Y. (2018). Human Water Use Impacts on the Strength of the Continental Sink for Atmospheric Water. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(9), 4068-4076. doi:10.1029/2018GL077621.
  2. Kollet, S., Gasper, F., Brdar, S., Goergen, K., Hendricks-Franssen, H.-J., Keune, J., Kurtz, W., Küll, V., Pappenberger, F., Poll, S., Trömel, S., Shrestha, P., Simmer, C., and Sulis, M. (2018). Introduction of an Experimental Terrestrial Forecasting/Monitoring System at Regional to Continental Scales Based on the Terrestrial Systems Modeling Platform (v1.1.0). Water, 10(11), 1697. doi:10.3390/w10111697.
  3. Shrestha, P., Sulis, M., Simmer, C., and Kollet, S. (2018). Effects of horizontal grid resolution on evapotranspiration partitioning using TerrSysMP. Journal of Hydrology, 557. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.01.024.
  4. Gebler, S., Hendricks Franssen, H.-J., Kollet, S. J., Qu, W., and Vereecken, H. (2017). High resolution modelling of soil moisture patterns with TerrSysMP: A comparison with sensor network data. Journal of Hydrology, 547, 309-331. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.01.048.
  5. Sulis, M., Williams, J. L., Shrestha, P., Diederich, M., Simmer, C., Kollet, S. J., and Maxwell, R. M. (2017). Coupling Groundwater, Vegetation, and Atmospheric Processes: A Comparison of Two Integrated Models. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 18(5), 1489-1511. doi:10.1175/JHM-D-16-0159.1.
  6. Keune, J., Gasper, F., Goergen, K., Hense, A., Shrestha, P., Sulis, M., and Kollet, S. (2016). Studying the influence of groundwater representations on land surface-atmosphere feedbacks during the European heat wave in 2003. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(22), 301-325. doi:10.1002/2016JD025426.
  7. Kurtz, W., He, G., Kollet, S., Maxwell, R., Vereecken, H., and Hendricks Franssen, H.-J. (2016). TerrSysMP-PDAF (version 1.0): a modular high-performance data assimilation framework for an integrated land surface-subsurface model. Geoscientific Model Development, 9(4), 1341-1360. doi:10.5194/gmd-9-1341-2016.
  8. Shrestha, P., Sulis, M., Simmer, C., and Kollet, S. (2015). Impacts of grid resolution on surface energy fluxes simulated with an integrated surface-groundwater flow model. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19(10), 4317-4326. doi:10.5194/hess-19-4317-2015.
  9. Gasper, F., Goergen, K., Kollet, S., Shrestha, P., Sulis, M., Rihani, J., and Geimer, M. (2014). Implementation and scaling of the fully coupled Terrestrial Systems Modeling Platform (TerrSysMP) in a massively parallel supercomputing environment - a case study on JUQUEEN (IBM Blue Gene/Q). Geoscientific Model Development, 7(5), 2531-2543. doi:10.5194/gmd-7-2531-2014.
  10. Shrestha, P., Sulis, M., Masbou, M., Kollet, S., and Simmer, C. (2014). A Scale-Consistent Terrestrial Systems Modeling Platform Based on COSMO, CLM, and ParFlow. Monthly Weather Review, 142(9), 3466-3483. doi:10.1175/MWR-D-14-00029.1.