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Welcome to ARTS

ARTS is free software. Please see the file COPYING for details.

If you use data generated by ARTS in a scientific publication, then please mention this and cite the most appropriate of the ARTS publications that are summarized on provides information on contributing to ARTS on GitHub.

For documentation, please see the files in the doc subdirectory. For building and installation instructions please read below.

Building ARTS

Build Prerequisites:

  • gcc/g++ >=8 (or llvm/clang >=8) older versions might work, but are untested
  • cmake (>=3.1.0)
  • zlib
  • blas
  • lapack
  • netcdf (optional)

To build the documentation you also need:

  • pdflatex (optional)
  • doxygen (optional)
  • graphviz (optional)

Using cmake

Here are the steps to use cmake to build ARTS:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

If you only want to build the arts executable you can just run 'make arts' instead of 'make'.

If you have a multi-core processor or multiprocessor machine, don't forget to use the -j option to speed up the compilation:

make -jX

Where X is the number of parallel build processes. X=(Number of Cores)+1 gives you usually the fastest compilation time.

Build configurations

To build a release version without assertions or debugging symbols use:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..
make clean

To switch back to the debug version use:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo ..
make clean

This is also the default configuration if you run cmake without options in an empty build directory.

Native build (EXPERIMENTAL)

Finally, an experimental build type for Native infrastructures exists on GCC:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Native ..
make clean

This option should make the executable slightly faster, more so on better systems, but not portable. Note that since this build-mode is meant for fast-but-accurate computations, some IEEE rules will be ignored. For now only complex computations are IEEE incompatible running this mode of build.


'make check' will run several test cases to ensure that ARTS is working properly. Use 'make check-all' to run all available controlfiles, including computation time-intensive ones.

Some tests depend on the arts-xml-data package. cmake automatically looks if it is available in the same location as ARTS itself. If necessary, a custom path can be specified:

cmake -DARTS_XML_DATA_PATH=/home/myname/arts-xml-data ..

If arts-xml-data cannot be found, those tests are ignored.

By default, the tests are executed serially. If you want to run them concurrently, you can use:

cmake -DTEST_JOBS=X ..

X is the number of tests that should be started in parallel.

You can also use the ctest command directly to run the tests:

ctest -j4

To run specific tests, use the -R option and specify part of the test case name you want to run. The following command will run all tests that have 'ppath' in their name, e.g. ...:

ctest -R ppath

To see the output of ARTS, use the -V option:

ctest -V -R fast.doit

By default, ctest will not print any output from ARTS to the screen. The option --output-on-failure can be passed to ctest to see output in the case an error occurs. If you want to always enable this, you can set the environment variable CTEST_OUTPUT_ON_FAILURE:


HITRAN catalog support

By default, ARTS only supports the latest HITRAN 2012 catalog version. Because isotopologues have been renamed between different catalog versions, ARTS needs to be compiled for one specific HITRAN version. If you want to use HITRAN 2008, you have to recompile ARTS with:

cmake -DWITH_HITRAN2008=1 ..
make arts

To switch back to HITRAN 2012, run:

cmake -DWITH_HITRAN2008=0 ..
make arts

Optional features

To include features that rely on Fortran code located in the 3rdparty subdirectory use:

cmake -DENABLE_FORTRAN=1 -DCMAKE_Fortran_COMPILER=gfortran ..

This enables Disort, Fastem, Refice and Tmatrix.

If necessary, certain Fortran modules can be selectively disabled:


IMPORTANT: Only gfortran and Intel Fortran are currently supported. Also, a 64-bit system is required (size of long type must be 8 bytes).

Enable NetCDF: The basic matpack types can be read from NetCDF files, if NetCDF support is enabled:

cmake -DENABLE_NETCDF=1 ..

Disabling features

By default, a library to use the ARTS workspace interface in typhon is built. You can disable building the C API:

cmake -DNO_C_API=1 ..

Disable assertions:

cmake -DNO_ASSERT=1 ..

Disable OpenMP:

cmake -DNO_OPENMP=1 ..

Disable the built-in documentation server:

cmake -DNO_DOCSERVER=1 ..

Treat warnings as errors:

cmake -DWERROR=1 ..

Disable FFTW autodetection:

ARTS automatically detects the availability of the FFTW3 library needed to speed up the calculation of HITRAN cross section species . If you need to disable FFTW support for any reason, you can do so with the following cmake option:

cmake -DNO_FFTW=1 ..

TMatrix precision

By default, ARTS uses double-precision for the T-matrix calculations. When using the Intel compiler, quad-precision can be enable with cmake:


Note that quad-precision is software emulated. T-matrix calculations will around 10x slower.

ccache support

To utilize ccache when available use:

cmake -DENABLE_CCACHE=1 ..

For details see

Intel compiler

If you want to compile with the Intel compiler[1], start with an empty build directory and run:



LLVM/Clang compiler

If you want to compile with the LLVM/Clang compiler[1], start with an empty build directory and run:


You might also have to explicitly pick the right Fortran compiler since clang doesn't have one:


Note that at this point, on OS X the default Apple Clang compiler does not support OpenMP. Other versions of Clang support it via libomp.

[1] [2]

macOS / Xcode

If you're on a Mac and have the Apple Xcode development environment installed, you can generate a project file and use Xcode to build ARTS:

cmake -G Xcode ..
open ARTS.xcodeproj

Experimental features (ONLY USE IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING)

Use C++11 and the new libc++ (currently only supported in Xcode builds):

cmake -G Xcode -DWITH_XCODE_LIBCPP=1 ..

Enable C++17 (only for compatibility testing, do not use C++17 features in your code):

cmake -DENABLE_CXX17=1 ..

Valgrind profiling

The callgrind plugin included in valgrind is the recommended profiling method for ARTS.

Due to limitations of valgrind, you need to disable the tmatrix code (-DNO_TMATRIX=1) when compiling ARTS with Fortran support.

Certain things should be taken into account when calling ARTS with valgrind. Since recursion (cycles) will lead to wrong profiling results it is important to use the following settings to obtain profile data for ARTS:

valgrind --tool=callgrind --separate-callers=10 --separate-recs=3 arts -n1 ...

For detail on these options consult the valgrind manual:

-n1 should be passed to ARTS because parallelisation can further scew the results. Since executing a program in valgrind can lead to 50x slower execution, it is recommended to create a dedicated, minimal controlfile for profiling.

After execution with valgrind, the resulting callgrind.out.* file can be opened in kcachegrind[1] for visualization. It is available as a package for most Linux distributions.

Note that you don't have to do a full ARTS run. You can cancel the program after some time when you think you have gathered enough statistics.


gprof profiling

To utilize gprof to obtain profiling information, you can configure ARTS in the following way:

  1. Create an new build directory:
cd arts
mkdir build_profile
cd build_profile
  1. Compile ARTS with profiling information:
CFLAGS="-pg" CXXFLAGS="-pg" FFLAGS="-pg" cmake ..
make arts

If your gprof version does not support GCC's latest dwarf format, you have to force a compatible format:

CFLAGS="-pg -gdwarf-3" CXXFLAGS="-pg -gdwarf-3" FFLAGS="-pg -gdwarf-3" cmake ..
  1. Run ARTS in the configuration you want to analyze:
src/arts MYCONTROLFILE.arts
  1. Step 3 created a file gmon.out with timing information. Use gprof to analyze it:
gprof src/arts

As gprof adds code overhead into the produced binary, using a sampling profiler such as 'Instruments' on Mac OS X or callgrind on Linux is recommended to obtain more realistic timing results.

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