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ATS: The Advanced Terrestrial Simulator

The Advanced Terrestrial Simulator (formerly sometimes known as the Arctic Terrestrial Simulator) is a code for solving ecosystem-based, integrated, distributed hydrology.

Capabilities are largely based on solving various forms of Richards equation coupled to a surface flow equation, along with the needed sources and sinks for ecosystem and climate models. This can (but need not) include thermal processes (especially ice for frozen soils), evapo-transpiration, albedo-driven surface energy balances, snow, biogeochemistry, plant dynamics, deformation, transport, and much more. In addition, we solve problems of reactive transport in both the subsurface and surface, leveraging external geochemical engines through the Alquimia interface.

Join the Community

ATS is more than just a code, but a community of users with a lot of experience in both integrated hydrology, Arctic hydrology, reactive transport, and ATS code development. Please join us on our google group. We try very hard to create a welcoming community that supports and enables our users to do their science.


ATS is now built as a part of Amanzi directly. Please see the ATS installation instructions on Amanzi's site.


Our Documentation covers the input spec, and is motivated by a large suite of Demos.

See also our Wiki and Frequently Asked Questions, or take our online Short Course.

License and Copyright

Please see the LICENSE and COPYRIGHT files included in the top level directory of your ATS download.


In all works, please cite the code:

E.T. Coon, M. Berndt, A. Jan, D. Svyatsky, A.L. Atchley, E. Kikinzon, D.R. Harp, G. Manzini, E. Shelef, K. Lipnikov, R. Garimella, C. Xu, J.D. Moulton, S. Karra, S.L. Painter, E. Jafarov, and S. Molins. 2020. Advanced Terrestrial Simulator. U.S. Department of Energy, USA. Version 1.0. DOI

Additionally, consider citing one or more of the below, depending upon the application space:

Watershed Hydrology: Coon, Ethan T., et al. "Coupling surface flow and subsurface flow in complex soil structures using mimetic finite differences." Advances in Water Resources 144 (2020): 103701. DOI

Arctic Hydrology: Painter, Scott L., et al. "Integrated surface/subsurface permafrost thermal hydrology: Model formulation and proof‐of‐concept simulations." Water Resources Research 52.8 (2016): 6062-6077. DOI

Reactive Transport: Molins, Sergi, et al. "A Multicomponent Reactive Transport Model for Integrated Surface‐Subsurface Hydrology Problems." Water Resources Research 58.8 (2022): e2022WR032074. DOI

Multiphysics Modeling: Coon, Ethan T., J. David Moulton, and Scott L. Painter. "Managing complexity in simulations of land surface and near-surface processes." Environmental modelling & software 78 (2016): 134-149. DOI