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MONICA - The Model for Nitrogen and Carbon in Agro-ecosystems

MONICA is a dynamic, process-based simulation model which describes transport and bio-chemical turn-over of carbon, nitrogen and water in agro-ecosystems. On daily time steps the most important processes in soil and plant are modelled mechanistically. They are linked in such way that feed-back relations of the single processes are reproduced as close to nature as possible. MONICA works one dimensional and represents a space of 1 m² surface area and 2 m depth.

The acronym MONICA is derived from „MOdel of Nitrogen and Carbon dynamics in Agro-ecosystems”.



Builds can be downloaded from the repository's releases page.


In order to build MONICA one needs to have at least to clone the repositories zalf-rpm/mas-infrastructure and zalf-rpm/monica-parameters (parameters repository for MONICA) in addition to monica itself.

After cloning the repositories you should have this file structure:

	      |_ monica
	      |_ monica-parameters
	      |_ mas-infrastructure

Also install Python to run the minimal examples.


see for installation and build instructions

monica-run will execute a local MONICA with the example Hohenfinow2 in the installer directory and output its result into installer\Hohenfinow2\out.csv.

cd monica/_cmake_win64
./monica-run -o out.csv installer/Hohenfinow2/sim-min.json


see for installation and build instructions.

Run the standard example and write the results into out.csv Shell:

cd monica/_cmake_linux
./monica-run -o out.csv installer/Hohenfinow2/sim-min.json


To run MONICA locally with the standard Hohenfinow2 example under Windows using the standard installer, go to the c:\users\USER_PROFILE\MONICA directory and execute in a Commandshell

monica-run -o out.csv Examples/Hohenfinow2/sim-min.json

There are the following tools/versions of MONICA available.

  • libmonica ... the libmonica.dll/.so with the MONICA core functionality
  • monica-run ... the standalone MONICA commandline model (using libmonica)
  • monica-zmq-proxy ... a tool to run serverside and forward/distribute jobs (ZMQ job messages) to MONICA workers (servers)
  • monica-zmq-server ... a MONICA server accepting ZeroMQ messages and process them, usually to be used in connection with ZMQ proxy/proxies and a cloud of worker monica-zmq-servers


On Windows an NSIS installer can be created. The installer will by default install all programm code into c:\program files and the parameters, databases and examples into c:\users\USER_PROFILE\MONICA. The MONICA install directory will be added to the PATH environment variable as well as add it to the PYTHONPATH environment variable. So after a normal installation MONICA should be useable from the commandline.


Contributions are welcome.

Credits: Include a section for credits in order to highlight and link to the authors of your project.

MONICA is model of the Research Platform "Data Analysis & Simulation" at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF).


  • Claas Nendel (claas (dot) nendel [at] zalf (dot) de)
  • Xenia Specka (xenia (dot) specka [at] zalf (dot) de)
  • Michael Berg-Mohnicke (michael (dot) berg [at] zalf (dot) de)

Maintainers: Currently maintained by the authors.


Monica is distributed under the Mozilla Public License, v. 2.0