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Getting started

It is recommended to have a look at Running Snowpack once you have installed SNOWPACK on your system.


In order to reduce the maintenance burden and to make SNOWPACK easier to tailor to specific needs, it has been decomposed into several tools:

  • inishell for graphical configuration of the simulations. Please use it to configure your simulations, it makes it much easier!
  • MeteoIO for data retrieval and preprocessing
  • the snowpack model with its libsnowpack
  • niViz for simulation output visualization (or go to

Precompiled SNOWPACK

The Snowpack releases that are found in the Downloads bundle MeteoIO and Snowpack but NOT Inishell that has to be downloaded separately. They are available for Linux, Windows and osX and contain an HTML documentation (either in the start menu or in the share subfolder of the installation directory).

SNOWPACK from source

Please have a look at the same page for MeteoIO: Getting-started. If you recompile SNOWPACK from sources, you need to download and install a few other of the package mentioned above. At the minimum, you need to have MeteoIO on your system, compiled and preferably installed.

Directory structure

If you don't want to install MeteoIO on your system, it is highly recommended to keep the following directory structure (so it can still be automatically found):

                ┣━━╾ 📂 snowpack trunk
                ┗━━╾ 📂 meteoio trunk

If you install MeteoIO, you have to provide the installation root directory to cmake (something such as "/usr" or "~/usr") and make sure this directory exists. Please do not confuse the source directory (ie where your sources are) and the installation directory (where the compiled versions are made available to your system). When you do a make install, you basically copy the binaries from your source directory to the install directory of your choice.

Online Documentation

Regarding the documentation, you can either generate it from your download using doxygen (see MeteoIO's Getting-started) or separately download a documentation only package (in the Downloads).

Having SNOWPACK in your PATH

In order to run SNOWPACK from the command line without having to type its full path every time, SNOWPACK's path should be added to the PATH environment variable (if this has not already been done by the installer).

PATH for Linux and MacOS

Edit either your ${HOME}/.profile or ${HOME}/.bashrc file (on MacOS, it is recommended to put it in ${HOME}/.bash_profile) and add the following:

  • on both Linux and MacOS: export PATH={install path to SNOWPACK}/bin:$PATH
  • on Linux: export LD_LIBRARY_PATH={install path to SNOWPACK}/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

On MacOS, this file might have to be created, see

PATH for Windows

When using a pre-compiled package, this step should not be necessary. However, if you did not use a pre-compiled package or if the installer failed, you should check/do this step. The exact location depend on the version of Windows that you are using. For Windows7, from the start menu, got to: Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings. Then in the Advanced tab, either create/edit the PATH variable in the User variables or in the System variables to contain {install path to SNOWPACK}/bin.

Running Snowpack

Please have a look at Running Snowpack.

When something does not work

Please have a look at Getting Help.