Getting started

Although largely automatised, the OGGM model still requires some python scripting to prepare and run a simulation. This documentation will guide you through several examples to get you started.

First step: system settings for input data

OGGM will automatically download all the data it needs for a simulation at run time. You can specify where on your computer these files should be stored for later use. Let’s start by opening a python interpreter and type in:

In [1]: from oggm import cfg

In [2]: cfg.initialize()

At your very first import, this will do two things:

  1. It will download a small subset of data used for testing and calibration. This data is located in your home directory, in a hidden folder called .oggm.
  2. It will create a configuration file in your home folder, where you can indicate where you want to store further input data. This configuration file is also located in your home directory under the name .oggm_config.

To locate this config file, you can type:

In [3]: cfg.CONFIG_FILE
Out[3]: '/home/docs/.oggm_config'

See Input data for an explanation of these entries.


The default settings will probably work for you, but we recommend to have a look at this file and set the paths to a directory where enough space is available: a minimum of 8 Gb for all climate data and glacier outlines is necessary. Topography data can quickly grow to several Gb as well, even for regional runs.

OGGM workflow

For a step by step tutorial of the entire OGGM workflow, download and run the getting started (right-click -> “Save link as”) jupyter notebook.

OGGM run scripts

Refer to Set-up an OGGM run for real-world applications.