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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: short communication 04 Mar 2020

Submitted as: short communication | 04 Mar 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Short communication: Landlab v2.0: A software package for Earth surface dynamics

Katherine R. Barnhart1,2, Eric W. H. Hutton3,4, Gregory E. Tucker1,2,3, Nicole M. Gasparini5, Erkan Istanbulluoglu6, Daniel E. J. Hobley7, Nathan J. Lyons5, Margaux Mouchene8, Sai Siddhartha Nudurupati6, Jordan M. Adams9, and Christina Bandaragoda6 Katherine R. Barnhart et al.
  • 1University of Colorado at Boulder, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, Colorado
  • 2University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Geological Sciences, Boulder, Colorado
  • 3University of Colorado at Boulder, Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System Integration Facility, Boulder, Colorado
  • 4University of Colorado at Boulder, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • 5Tulane University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 6University of Washington, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Seattle, Washington
  • 7Cardiff University, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 8Univ. Grenoble Alpes, INRAE, ETNA, F-38402 St-Martin-d’Hères, France
  • 9Delgado Community College, Division of Science and Math, New Orleans, Louisiana

Abstract. Numerical simulation of the form and characteristics of Earth's surface provides insight into its evolution. Landlab is an Open Source Python package that contains modularized elements of numerical models for Earth's surface, thus reducing time required for researchers to create new or reimplement existing models. Landlab contains a gridding engine which represents the model domain as a dual graph of structured quadrilaterals (e.g., raster) or irregular Voronoi polygon-Delaunay triangle mesh (e.g., regular hexagons, radially symmetric meshes, fully irregular meshes). Landlab also contains components – modular implementations of single physical processes – and a suite of utilities which support numerical methods, input/output, and visualization. This contribution describes package development since version 1.0 and backward-compatibility breaking changes which necessitates the new major release, version 2.0. Substantial changes include refactoring the grid, improving the component standard interface, dropping Python 2 support, and creating 30 new components – for a total of 57 components in the Landlab package. We describe reasons why many changes were made in order to provide insight to designers of future packages. We conclude by discussing lessons about the dynamics of scientific software development gained from the experience of using, developing, maintaining, and teaching with Landlab.

Katherine R. Barnhart et al.

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Status: open (until 15 Apr 2020)
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Katherine R. Barnhart et al.

Katherine R. Barnhart et al.


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Latest update: 03 Apr 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Landlab is a Python package to support the creation of numerical models in Earth surface dynamics. Since the release of the 1.0 version in 2017, Landlab has grown and evolved: it contains 30 new process components, a refactored model grid, and additional utilities. This contribution describes the new elements of Landlab, discusses why certain backward-compatiblity breaking changes were made, and reflects on the process of community open source software development.
Landlab is a Python package to support the creation of numerical models in Earth surface...