esm_tools is hosted on To get access to the software you need to be able to log into GitHub.

Then you can start by cloning the repository esm_tools.git:

$ git clone

This gives you a collection of yaml configuration files containing all the information on models, coupled setups, machines, etc. in the subfolder config, default namelists in the folder namelists, example runscripts for a large number of models on different HPC systems in subfolder runscripts, and this documention in docs. Also you will find the installer used to install the python packages.

Accessing components in DKRZ server

Some of the esm_tools components are hosted in the servers. To be able to reach these components you will need:

  1. A DKRZ account (

  2. Become a member of the group esm_tools. Either look for the group and request membership, or directly contact

  3. Request access from the corresponding author of the component. Feel free to contact us if you don’t know who the model developers are or check the Supported Models section.

ESM Tools

For our complete documentation, please check

Before you continue

You will need python 3 (possibly version 3.6 or newer), a version of git that is not ancient (everything newer than 2.10 should be good), and up-to-date pip (pip install -U pip) to install the esm_tools. That means that on the supported machines, you could for example use the following settings:

$ module load git
$ module load python3

$ module load git
$ module unload netcdf_c
$ module load anaconda3 /

$ module load git
$ module load anaconda3

$ module load git
$ module load Python-3.6.8


$ module load git
$ module load python

Note that some machines might raise an error conflict netcdf_c when loading anaconda3. In that case you will need to swap netcdf_c with anaconda3:

$ module unload netcdf_c
$ module load anaconda3


  1. First, make sure you add the following lines to one of your login or profile files, i.e. ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bashrc, ~/.profile, etc.:

    $ export PATH=$PATH:~/.local/bin
    $ export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8
    $ export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
  2. Inside the same login or profile file, add also the module commands necessary for the HPC system you are using (find the lines in the section above).

  3. You can choose to source now your login or profile file, so that the module and export commands are run (e.g. $ source ~/.bash_profile).

  4. To use the new version of the ESM-Tools, now rewritten in Python, clone this repository:

    $ git clone
  5. Then, run the

    $ ./

You should now have the command line tools esm_master and esm_runscripts, which replace the old version.

You may have to add the installation path to your PATH variable:

$ export PATH=~/.local/bin:$PATH


If you have installed esm_tools you need to configure it before the first use to setup the hidden file $HOME/.esmtoolsrc correctly. This configuration will set required user information that are needed by both esm_master and esm_runscripts to work correctly. Such information are your user accounts on the different software repositories, your account on the machines you want to compute on, and some basic settings for the esm_runscripts.

To configure esm_master you should run the executable:

$ esm_master

Running it for the first time after installation, you will be asked to type in your user settings. This interactive configuration includes the following steps:

$ Please enter your username for (default: anonymous)
$ Please enter your username for (default: anonymous)

Note that you will need to manually edit the file ~/.esmtoolsrc, if you mistakenly spelled any of the user names required for accessing the repositories, or you selected the default user name (anonymous).

Uninstall ESM-tools

To uninstall your current installation of ESM-Tools you can use the following command:

$ esm_versions clean

You can also choose to manually uninstall. In order to do that, remove the installed Python packages and delete the esm_* executables. The following commands will do the trick if you installed with the script or installed using pip with user mode

$ rm -rf ~/.local/bin/esm*
$ rm -rf ~/.local/lib/python3.6/site-packages/esm*

Note that you may have a different Python version, so the second command might need to be adapted. You may also use pip to uninstall any of the packages:

$ pip uninstall [--user] esm-tools

The --user flag may be required when using pip.