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The GLobal airglOW Model, independently and easily accessed from Fortran 2003 compiler. Optionally available from scripting languages including:

  • Python ≥ 3.6
  • Matlab
  • GNU Octave ≥ 4.2
  • IDL / GDL

We describe each language below; pick the one(s) that apply for you. Python is the easiest and recommennded choice. A Fortran compiler is required in any case.


Install/compile by:

git clone

pip install -e ncar-glow

Confirm the install with:

pytest ncar-glow

Then use examples such as:

  • Maxwellian precipiation, specify Q and E0.
  • Specify unit flux for one energy bin, all other energy bins are zero flux.

or use GLOW in your own Python program by:

import ncarglow as glow

iono = glow.simple(time, glat, glon, Q, Echar, Nbins)

iono is an xarray.Dataset containing outputs from GLOW, including:

  • number densities of neutrals, ions and electrons
  • Pedersen and Hall currents
  • volume emssion rate vs. wavelength and altitude
  • precipitating flux vs. energy
  • many more, request if you want it.


You can call this repo from a Meson wrap or CMake Fetch. To build Fortran code by itself, do either:

meson build

meson test -C build


cmake -B build

cmake --build build


The parallel version of GLOW requires MPI and NetCDF for TIEGCM I/O.

mpirun -np 2 ./mpi_glow.bin < ~/data/in.namelist.tgcm

Note, for an unknown reason, in.namelist.msis only works with -O0 or -O1 with gfortran 7. We didn't look into why. Otherwise, -O3 works fine.

Matlab / GNU Octave

The Matlab interface is in the matlab directory, and passes data to / from Glow over stdin / stdout pipes.

First, compile the Fortran code by running setup.m


NOTE: if using GNU Octave, version ≥ 4.2 is required for proper textscan() functionality


We have a small script for IDL / GDL thanks to Guy Grubbs. Let us know if you want this, we haven't taken the time to upload it yet.

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