GEOframe Summer School 2021 (moved to early Autumn for this year)

September 27 – September 28, 2021/ October 4 – October 7, 2021

Scientific Committee: Prof. Riccardo Rigon, Ph.D.; Prof. Giuseppe Formetta, Ph.D; Ing. Niccolò Tubini, Ing. Concetta d’Amato, Ing. Marialaura Bancheri, Ph.D.

Organizing Institutions:

Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento
Center Agriculture Food Environment, University of Trento
Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean, National Research Council, Ercolano NA, Italy


The Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ) is defined as the heterogeneous, near surface environment in which complex interactions involving rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms regulate the natural habitat and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources (National Research Council, 2001). Clear interest in studying the CZ is spurred on by ever-increasing pressure due to the growth in human population and climatic changes.
Main topics will embrace the water flow (and heat transport) in porous media, the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, and inverse problems. The aim of the course is to enable participants to run their own simulations with the GEOframe tools prepared to simulate the critical zone. They are process-based (e.g. Fatichi et al, 2016) tools, whose ambition is to simulate the processes of infiltration, heat transport and evaporation and transpiration. The GSS2021 deals mainly with the 1D tools and introduces the 2D ones called WHETGEO (1D and 2D), GEOframe-Prospero and LysGEO.
Besides the lectures and the hands-on sessions, the Summer School is the occasion for discussion and experience exchange among senior scholars and young researchers.
The School will be online on the Zoom platform.


Admissions are reserved to up to 30, PhD students and postdoctoral students, young researchers willing to learn the use of the GEOframe tools envisioned for the study of infiltration, energy budget, vegetation transpiration, water budget with process-based models

All students are asked to upload a CV and a motivation letter when applying.

The Summer School which is to be held in English, consists of 6 hours/day of activities for 6 days. The first two days, 27, 28 of September the installation of the GEOframe-OMS system tools and the general characteristics of the system. Lectures will be brief, dedicated to informatics and most of the time will be used for supporting participants’ installations.
The other four days will cover simulation of infiltration with WHETGEO-1D and 2D, with Prospero Transpiration model, and with the LysGEO model. There will be lectures on the hydrological processes implemented and applications to use cases.

Due to the Covid-19 emergency all the activities will be held via Zoom.


The cost is free for Students of the Hydrological Modelling Classes at the University of Trento, for Ph.D. students of the University of Trento DICAM and C3A programs, for the participants of the WATZON PRIN project and for all who wants to participate without having a certificate of GEOframe proficiency. Subscription to the class is necessary to receive the information to participate. For those who want the certificate, the Course costs 180 Euros. In any case the certificate is issued after the presentation of a small project of simulations for which appropriate tutoring will be given during and after the School.


For further information write to: or to the Secretary of the Class dott. Lorena Galante,


The GSS2021 talks and labs will be recorded and made publicly available during the School for self-training through the GEOframe blog (

Foreseen schedule

The details of the program are still to be defined

September 27-28:

These days are dedicated to those who never approached the GEOframe system and pursue the understanding of how it works. Who already knows how GEOframe works or have already installed it for different purposes than those of this School, can skip them

  • Introduction to the Object Modelling System and GEOframe Infrastructures (Verona 2022 environment)
  • Installation of OMS and GEOframe Verona
  • Brief introduction to Jupyter notebooks and Python
  • Few examples and Problem solving

October 4:

This morning is mostly dedicated to fill theory of the processes investigated by this School on GEOframe, meaning infiltration in soil, the basics of Richards/Richardson equation to which follow some exercises. The afternoon will be used to discuss issues related to the application of different boundary conditions, different parameterizations of the soil water retention curves.

Morning session

  • The Richardson-Richards equation
  • The equation and its parts, and three form of the equation
  • Soil Water Retention Curves
  • Hydraulic conductivity models
  • Numerical issues to keep in mind

Afternoon session

  • Practical session on Richardson-Richards equatio
  • one homogeneous layer
  • stratified layers
  • playing with boundary conditions
  • Presenting the results with Jupyter Notebooks

October 5:

This day is dedicated to discuss the problem of the surface boundary condition.

Morning session

  • Surface boundary condition and numerical issues
  • Practical session simulating:
  • Horton process
  • Dunnian process
  • Presenting the results with Jupyter Notebooks

Afternoon session

  • Individual exercises with support

October 6:

This day is dedicated to the bi-dimensional case of the Richardson-Richards equation and to present the radiation energy budget.

Morning session

  • Installing the software for building unstructured grids
  • Manage 2D unstructured grids.
  • Practical session on WHETGEO-2D on some pre-prepared cases

Afternoon session

  • Theory of radiation energy budget
  • Practical session on computing the radiation energy budget

October 7:

Day four is dedicated to the LysGEO model, evaporation and transpiration modelling and their coupling with R2.

Morning session

  • Evapotranspiration theory and equations in the Prospero model
  • Use of GEOframe – ET tools practices

Afternoon session

  • LysGEO theory
  • Practical session on LysGEO:
  • Comparison between potential ET and actual ET
  • Set different stress factors
  • Introducing vegetation traits

Specific Documentation

The specific documentation regards papers and thesis written on the GEOframe components used in this School. Other literature, of general interest, is provided within the presentations given during the course. Practical documentation for any of the tasks is provided by means of Jupyter Notebooks, of which the general ones are reported below.

Some essential about the Object Modelling System

  • Bottazzi, M, Ph.D. Thesis
  • David, O., Ascough II, J. C., Lloyd, W., Green, T. R., Rojas, K. W., Leavesley, G. H., & Ahuja, L. R. (2013). A software engineering perspective on environmental modeling framework design: The Object Modeling System. Environmental Modelling & Software, 39, 201-213.
  • Tubini, N., Ph.D. Thesis (available soon)
  • Bottazzi, M., Bancheri, M., Mobilia, M., Bertoldi, G., Longobardi, A., & Rigon, R. (2021). Comparing Evapotranspiration Estimates from the GEOframe-Prospero Model with Penman–Monteith and Priestley-Taylor Approaches under Different Climate Conditions. Water, 13(9), 1221.
  • Tubini, Niccolò, and Riccardo Rigon. 2021. “Implementing the Water, HEat and Transport Model in GEOframe WHETGEO-1D v.1.0: Algorithms, Informatics, Design Patterns, Open Science Features, and 1D Deployment.”

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