I am trying to regrid some of my latitude-longitude grid files to tripolar ocean grid and found that ESMF can be useful. However, I am finding it hard to install the same.


2 Answers 2


First download the esmf tar file from http://www.earthsystemmodeling.org/esmf_releases/public/ESMF_7_1_0r/reg/ESMF_Framework_Down.html

Then install netcdf library and gfortran compiler using

sudo apt-get install git tcsh pkg-config
sudo apt-get install gfortran
sudo apt-get install netcdf-bin libnetcdf-dev libnetcdff-dev
sudo apt-get install openmpi-bin libopenmpi-dev
sudo apt-get install libnetcdff-dev

Once you have the netcdf library and gfortran compiler in your /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/include You can check this also, login as root using

sudo -i

Then define the following environment variables

cd path_of_esmf_dir
export ESMF_DIR=path_of_esmf_dir
export ESMF_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local/esmf
export ESMF_OS=Linux
export ESMF_NETCDF="local"
export ESMF_COMM=mpiuni
export ESMF_F90COMPILER=gfortran
export ESMF_NETCDF_INCLUDE=/usr/local/include
export ESMF_NETCDF_LIBS="-lnetcdf -lnetcdff"
export ESMF_NETCDF_LIBPATH=/usr/local/lib
export ESMF_BOPT=O3

Then run the following syntax to make the library ESMF

make all
make install
make installcheck

Now to install the ESMF python library

cd path_to_esmf_dir/addon/ESMpy/
python setup.py build --ESMFMKFILE=/usr/local/esmf/lib/libO3/Linux.gfortran.64.mpiuni.default/esmf.mk
python setup.py install

You can check the installation by

$ python 
>>> import ESMF

ESMF python library has got limited features as compared to the ESMF library. Hence it is better to use ESMF directly.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I get this: Fatal Error: Can't open module file 'netcdf.mod' for reading at (1): No such file or directory $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2020 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ either you have not installed netcdf library or your environment variables ESMF_NETCDF_INCLUDE and ESMF_NETCDF_LIBPATH are not pointing to the path where netcdf library is installed $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2020 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ can you check the paths by doing which ncdump or wherein netcdf.mod $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2020 at 8:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm following all of your instructions so it installed ok. The problem seems to be the include directory. The path you have above is empty on my Ubuntu 18.04 installation (WSL2). Changing it to /usr/include seems to have fixed the build. Thanks for the pointer. – Software Engineer 39 mins ago Delete $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2020 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ For netcdf paths, you can use nc-config --fflags which gives you the path to your includes (bit after the -I)and nc-config --flibs which gives you the path to your libs (bit after the -L). $\endgroup$
    – Klimaat
    Commented Jan 15 at 15:21

Actually, you probably shouldn't install it. If you're comfortable using Linux, then you would be better advised to use the docker container instead, with it already installed. That way your system stays clean and you can have someone else maintain it for you.

Check docker hub for different versions and find the one you like (here).

Install docker using:

curl -LSs get.docker.com | sh

There are plenty of simple docker tutorials that will help you work out how to use it.


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