Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Model description paper
30 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
OpenDrift v1.0: a generic framework for trajectory modeling
Knut-Frode Dagestad1, Johannes Röhrs1, Øyvind Breivik1,3, and Bjørn Ådlandsvik2 1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Bergen, Norway
2Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway
3Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway
Abstract. OpenDrift is an open-source Python-based framework for Lagrangian particle modeling under development at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute with contributions from the wider scientific community. The framework is highly generic and modular, and is designed to be used for any type of drift calculations in the ocean or atmosphere. A specific module within the OpenDrift framework corresponds to a Lagrangian particle model in the traditional sense. A number of modules have already been developed, including an oil drift model, a stochastic search and rescue model, a pelagic egg model, and a basic module for atmospheric drift. The framework allows for the ingestion of an unspecified number of forcing fields (scalar and vectorial) from various sources, including Eulerian ocean, atmosphere and wave models, but also measurements or subjective estimates of the same variables. A basic backtracking mechanism is inherent, using sign reversal of the total displacement vector and negative time stepping. OpenDrift is fast and simple to set up and use on Linux, Mac and Windows environments, and can be used with minimal or no Python experience. It is designed for flexibility, and researchers may easily adapt or write modules for their specific purpose. OpenDrift is also designed for performance, and simulations with millions of particles may be performed on a laptop. Further, OpenDrift is designed for robustness, and is in daily operational use for emergency preparedness modeling (oil drift, search and rescue and drifting ships) at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Citation: Dagestad, K.-F., Röhrs, J., Breivik, Ø., and Ådlandsvik, B.: OpenDrift v1.0: a generic framework for trajectory modeling, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Knut-Frode Dagestad et al.
Knut-Frode Dagestad et al.

Model code and software

OpenDrift v1.0.1: Release compliant with GMD paper submission
K.-F. Dagestad, J. Röhrs, Ø. Breivik, and B. Ådlandsvik
Knut-Frode Dagestad et al.


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Short summary
We have developed a computer code with ability to predict how various substances and objects drift in the ocean. This may be used to e.g. predict the drift of oil to aid cleanup operations, the drift of man-over-board or lifeboat to aid search and rescue operations, or the drift of fish eggs and larvae to understand and manage fish stocks. This new code merges all such applications into one software, allowing to optimise and channel any available resources and developments.
We have developed a computer code with ability to predict how various substances and objects...