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Model of Earth atmosphere absorption and transmission vs. wavelength and location on Earth.

Project Description


LOWTRAN7 atmospheric absportion extinction model. Updated by Michael Hirsch to be platform independent and easily accessible from Python.

The main LOWTRAN program has been made accessible from Python by using direct memory transfers instead of the cumbersome and error-prone process of writing/reading text files. xarray.Dataset high-performance N-D array data is passed out, with all approprirate metadata.

Python API Author:
 Michael Hirsch, Ph.D.


See this page if you have errors on Fortran compilation.

  • Linux: apt install gfortran
  • Mac: brew install gcc
  • Windows

If you don’t already have Numpy, python -m pip install numpy and then:

python -m pip install -e .


In these examples, you can write to HDF5 with the -o option. If you have unused (singleton) dimensions, use .squeeze() on the output array.

We present examples of:

  • ground-to-space transmittance:

  • sun-to-observer scattered radiance (why the sky is blue):

  • sun-to-observer irradiance:

  • observer-to-observer solar single-scattering solar radiance (up-going) with custom Pressure, Temperature and partial pressure for 12 species

  • observer-to-observer transmittance with custom Pressure, Temperature and partial pressure for 12 species

  • observer-to-observer transmittance


LOWTRAN7 User manual – you may refer to this to understand what parameters I’ve set to default. Currently I don’t have any aerosols enabled for example, though it’s trivial to add.

Right now a lot of configuration features aren’t implemented, please request those you want.


Original 1994 Lowtran7 Code

  • LOWFIL program in reference/lowtran7.10.f was not connected as I had previously implemented my own filter function directly in Python.
  • LOWSCAN spectral sampling (scanning) program in reference/lowtran7.13.f was not connected as I had no need for coarser spectral resolution.

Fortran (optional)

This is not necessary for normal users:

cd bin
cmake ..
make test

should generate this text output.

Windows f2py

(this is handled automatically by, noted here for debugging)

Yes, even though you’re using a 64-bit compiler:

f2py --compiler=mingw32 -m lowtran7 -c lowtran7.f

Tested on Windows with MinGW.

Windows Fortran compile

Normal users don’t need to do this. I suggest that you instead use Cygwin or Windows Subsytem for Linux:

cd bin
cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" ..
make test

Release History

This version
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