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River Avulsion Flooplain Evolution Model

Project description Documentation Status


The River Avulsion and Floodplain Evolution Model (RAFEM) is a morphodynamic model designed to be coupled with the Coastline Evolution Model (CEM).

Documentation is currently being updated (5/9/19). Please see our paper, Exploring Wave and Sea‐Level Rise Effects on Delta Morphodynamics With a Coupled River‐Ocean Model for a detailed model description.


Rafem requires Python 3.

Apart from Python, Rafem has a number of other requirements, all of which can be obtained through either pip or conda, that will be automatically installed when you install Rafem.

To see a full listing of the requirements, have a look at the project’s requirements.txt file.

If you are a developer of Rafem you will also want to install additional dependencies for running Rafem’s tests to make sure that things are working as they should. These dependencies are listed in requirements-testing.txt.


To install Rafem, first create a new environment in which Rafem will be installed. This, although not necessary, will isolate the installation so that there won’t be conflicts with your base Python installation. This can be done with conda as:

$ conda create -n rafem python=3
$ conda activate rafem

Stable Release

Rafem, and its dependencies, can be installed either with pip or conda. Using pip:

$ pip install rafem

Using conda:

$ conda install rafem -c conda-forge

From Source

After downloading the Rafem source code, run the following from Rafem’s top-level folder (the one that contains to install Rafem into the current environment:

$ pip install -e .

Input Files

Rafem Parameter File

The main Rafem input file is a yaml-formatted text file that lists parameter values for the various components. Running the following will print a sample Rafem parameter file:

$ rafem show rafem
- 120
- 200
- 0.1
- 0.1
n0: 5.0
nslope: 0.001
max_rand: 0.1
days: 7
dt_day: 0.01
rand_seed: 623
Initial_SL: 0.0
SLRR_m: 0.0
SubRate_m: 0.0
Sub_Start: 0
ch_width: 10.0
ch_depth: 1.0
ch_discharge: 10.0
A: 1.0
c_f: 0.01
C_0: 1.0
sed_sg: 2.65
init_cut_frac: 1
super_ratio: 1.0
short_path: 1
WL_Z: 0.0
WL_dist: 0
blanket_rate_m: 0.0
fine_dep_frac: 0.0
splay_type: 2
saveavulsions: false
savecourseupdates: false

Output Files

There are three main sets of output files. These are writen to the output folder as the model is running. * output/elevation: elevations of the entire model grid. * output/profile: elevations along the river profile * output/river: x, and y coordinates of the river profile

Each of these files is a CSV formatted text file. To create a plot of one of these output files, use the plot subcommand. For example:

$ rafem plot elevation

will plot the final elevations for the simulation in the current directory. Use rafem plot –help to see further options.


To run a simulation using the sample input files described above, you first need to create a set of sample files. This can be done by hand or by running rafem setup to get a default set of parameters that you can then edit. For example:

$ mkdir example
$ cd example
$ rafem setup

This command has created a new file, rafem.yaml, that you can edit for your simulation. To run rafem using this file:

$ rafem run

This will have create a new folder, output, that contains the output files. You can look at some of the output with the plot subcommand. For example, the following will create a plot the final elevations:

$ rafem plot elevation

Use the –help option to get help about other command line options.

Project details

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