Software tools for landscape evolution modeling

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Overview

Fastscape is a set of open-source software components aimed at making landscape evolution models and topographic analysis algorithms readily accessible to a wide range of users, from experts in landscape evolution modelling to scientists, researchers and teachers in the broader Earth science community.

Fastscape

Fastscape is a flexible and modular landscape evolution model that is highly connected to the Python scientific ecosystem, thanks to the Xarray-simlab modeling framework (see below).

It provides +30 components that can be combined together in order to create custom models. Users can also plug in their own components.

Its high-level, user-friendly interface enables interactive landscape evolution modeling, e.g., within Jupyter notebooks.

Try it online! Documentation Source repository

Fastscapelib (Fortran)

Fastscapelib-Fortran implements efficient algorithms for landscape evolution modeling.

It provides a basic Fortran interface with model setup, runtime and I/O routines that can be used in standalone programs or for coupling landscape evolution models with other Fortran codes (e.g., tectonic or climate models).

It may also be built as a Python extension with a NumPy-compatible, low-level API. It is currently used as a core backend library in "Fastscape".

Documentation Source repository

Fastscapelib (C++)

Fastscapelib (C++) is the successor of Fastscapelib-Fortran (it is still in early development).

It aims to provide a flexible, yet optimized system for implementing various core algorithms (e.g., flow routing and enforcement, solvers for erosion processes) on multiple grids.

It exposes a C++ API that is compatible with the Xtensor library (i.e., a multi-dimensional array library heavily inspired by NumPy). Thanks to Xtensor, it also exposes a Python/NumPy API and may have language bindings for R and Julia.

Documentation Source repository

Xarray-simlab

Xarray-simlab is a modeling framework used by "Fastscape" to build, setup and run custom models.

It is very well integrated with tools of the Python Scientific / PyData / Pangeo ecosystems such as Xarray, Dask, Zarr and the Holoviz projects.

It is a generic framework that can be used to build models in a wide range of domains.

Documentation Source repository

Publications

  • J. Braun, and S.D. Willett, 2013. A very efficient, O(n), implicit and parallel method to solve the basic stream power law equation governing fluvial incision and landscape evolution. Geomorphology, 180-181, pp., 170-179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.10.008.
  • G. Cordonnier, B. Bovy and J. Braun, 2019. A versatile, linear complexity algorithm for flow routing in topographies with depressions. Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, pp. 549–562. https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-7-549-2019.
  • X. Yuan, J. Braun, L. Guerit, D. Rouby and G. Cordonnier, 2019. A New Efficient Method to Solve the Stream Power Law Model Taking Into Account Sediment Deposition. Journal of Geohysical Research - Surface, 124 (6), pp. 1346-1365. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JF004867.
  • X. Yuan, J. Braun, L. Guerit, B. Simon, B. Bovy, D. Rouby, C. Robin and R. Jiao, 2019. Linking continental deposition to marine sediment transport and deposition: a new implicit and O(n) method for inverse analysis. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 524, 115728. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115728.

Some other tools

A few other, publicly available tools for topographic analysis and landscape evolution modeling: