Quick Start Guide




May 17, 2019

SVN rev.


NEMO for Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean is a state-of-the-art modelling framework for research activities and forecasting services in ocean and climate sciences, developed in a sustainable way by a European consortium since 2008.


The NEMO ocean model has 3 major components:

  • NEMO-OPA models the ocean {thermo}dynamics and solves the primitive equations (./src/OCE)

  • NEMO-SI3 simulates seaice {thermo}dynamics, brine inclusions and subgrid-scale thickness variations (./src/ICE)

  • NEMO-TOP/PISCES models the {on,off}line oceanic tracers transport and biogeochemical processes (./src/TOP)

These physical core engines are described in their respective references that must be cited for any work related to their use.

Assets and solutions

Not only does the NEMO framework model the ocean circulation, it offers various features to enable

Several built-in configurations are provided to evaluate the skills and performances of the model which can be used as templates for setting up a new configurations (./cfgs).

The user can also checkout available idealized test cases that address specific physical processes(./tests).

A set of utilities is also provided to {pre,post}process your data (./tools).

Project documentation

A walkthrough tutorial illustrates how to get code dependencies, compile and execute NEMO (./INSTALL.rst) .

Reference manuals and quick start guide can be build from source and exported to HTML or PDF formats (./doc) or downloaded directly from the website.


Reference Manual

Quick start


NEMO manual [R1]

NEMO guide


SI3 manual [R2]


TOP manual [R3]

Since 2014 the project has a Special Issue in the open-access journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) from the European Geosciences Union (EGU). The main scope is to collect relevant manuscripts covering various topics and to provide a single portal to assess the model potential and evolution.

Used by a wide audience, numerous associated projects have been carried out and extensive bibliography published.

Development board

The NEMO Consortium pulling together 5 European institutes (CMCC, CNRS, MOI, Met Office and NERC) plans the sustainable development in order to keep a reliable evolving framework since 2008.

It defines the multi-year development strategy that is implemented by the System Team on a yearly basis in order to release a new version almost every four years.

When the need arises, working groups are created or resumed to gather the community expertise for advising on the development activities.



Madec Gurvan and NEMO System Team. NEMO ocean engine. NEMO Consortium, edition. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1464816.


NEMO Sea Ice Working Group. SI³ – Sea Ice modelling Integrated Initiative – The NEMO Sea Ice engine. NEMO Consortium, edition. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1471689.


NEMO TOP Working Group. TOP – Tracers in Ocean Paradigm – The NEMO Tracers engine. NEMO Consortium, edition. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1471700.


A. Vidard, P.-A. Bouttier, and F. Vigilant. NEMOTAM: Tangent and Adjoint Models for the ocean modelling platform NEMO. Geoscientific Model Development, 8(4):1245–1257, 2015. doi:10.5194/gmd-8-1245-2015.


The NEMO source code is freely available and distributed under CeCILL license (GNU GPL compatible - see ./LICENSE).

You can use, modify and/or redistribute the software under its terms, but users are provided only with a limited warranty and the software’s authors and the successive licensor’s have only limited liability.