Bay-Delta SCHISM

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Bay-Delta SCHISM Project

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Calibration and Versioning

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Getting Started

Depending on your experience level, you may be learning a new computation environment as well as a new model. We suggest you tackle these separately:

  • Download the model and try the first couple tutorials on a simplified grid using Windows or Linux.
  • Try the Bay-Delta preprocessing tools in the package for working on the mesh, generating initial and boundary conditions, the ocean boundary and post processing.
  • Download the code and the ready-to-run Complete Sample Inputs and use them to configure and test your target high performance computing (HPC) environment.


Download SCHISM source code. If you are working on Windows (which is mostly useful for instruction or reduced size problems), compatible Windows binaries are available and can be used to populate the /bin directory of the Bay-Delta package.

The SCHISM numerical methods are an extension of SELFE v3.1dc, originally developed as a collaboration between Dr Antonio Baptista and Dr Joseph Zhang while the two worked together at the Oregon Health and Science University. SCHISM contains critical optimizations and enhancements developed by Dr Zhang at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, by the DWR Bay-Delta Office and by collaborators in other domains.

Bay-Delta Package

The package includes a simulation template corresponding to the calibration, preprocessing tools and several of the tutorials that we will be using in the January hands-on Bay-Delta workshop. Help on the preprocessor and model setup can be found in the preprocessor docs which are also distributed with the package. The package includes a /bin directory that needs to be populated by building the source.

VTools Scripting

Some postprocessing tools are dependent on VTools.


The Bay-Delta Package already contains our latest bathymetry in geo-tiff form, processed as we use them to populate our mesh. The data are described on the bathymetry page

Complete Sample Inputs

Interested users may want to explore their options as far as clusters and high performance environments without the confounding challenge of learning the preprocessor.

Complete 21-day sample inputs

includes a complete directory of inputs for a late August - early September 2013 baroclinic run with salt transport, sample PBS launching script ( and launching script ( that we use with our cluster’s job scheduler.

VisIt SELFE Plug-in

VisIt is a visualization toolkit for high performance numerical simulations. VisIt accesses specific data sources using plugins. At the time of writing, ours plugin works for SELFE/SCHISM native binaries and the next iteration will work for the NetCDF UGRID 0.9 output from SCHISM. We do not distribute the base VisIt.

SELFE plugins: * Source code 1.0.0 * Source code 1.1.0 * Compiled Windows binaries for 2.7 * Compiled Windows binaries for 2.8 * Compiled Windows binaries for 2.11

You may notice Visit documentation is becoming antiquated but still usable – the software is supported by a vigorous wiki and forum on the VisIt community site. We also offer the document VisIT for SELFE users