WRF Portal: A GUI For Running WRF

Version 2.84 for Linux, AIX, Mac, and Windows - released August 15, 2013

wrf portal

WRF Portal is the GUI that takes you through the entire process of running WRF: creating a domain (using the built-in WRF Domain Wizard component that generates your namelist.wps and namelist.input files), creating and running workflows, monitoring the progress of your runs, diff'ing workflows and files. Supports WRF version 2.x and the new WRF version 3.2.

Source Code is available here.
Version 2.7x and later has a new run report feature, v2.75 has high-res maps, and v2.8x supports running ensembles. See what else is new.

Download, Unzip And Run WRF Portal from command line

Download wrf-portal.zip  (44 Mb)

Important note: To run the default scripts (e.g., def_metgrid, def_real, def_wrf) you'll need Ruby version 1.8 installed on the computer on which WPS/WRF is installed. The scripts do not work with Ruby 1.9).

Simply download the wrf-portal.zip file into a directory of your choosing (e.g. c:\wrf-portal or /home/wrf-portal) and unzip it. Then run "runWRFPortal.bat" (under Windows) or "runWRFPortal" to launch the program. Non-Windows users will have to execute "chmod +x runWRFPortal" to make the script executable. After that, you can place a shortcut to wrf-portal on your desktop. Note that WRF Domain Wizard is imbedded inside WRF Portal.

Requirements to run WRF Portal

Minimum: Java 1.5
Recommended: Java 1.6 (Java 6) for much better performance
675 MB of RAM (memory) available
1024 x 768 (or better) video display
WPS and WRF version 2.2 or later already installed on some computer you can connect to from WRF Portal
Ruby (required to run default WRF scripts) installed on some computer you can connect to from WRF Portal. Ruby is standard on most Linux/Mac systems.
BASH shell.

What's New?

Version 2.84 -Support for HWRF v3.5, updates for Java 7 update 25, fixed bug for NMM domains where nx,ny weren't set correctly after a domain was resized and re-opened.
Version 2.83 -Implemented the new HWRF 3.4 program logic (e.g., 2 nests now instead of 1 nest). fixed bug where setting "io_form_history" had no effect (it always got reset to "2")
fixed bug where loading domain after loading HWRF domain resulted in the screen not displaying new domain (no refresh seemed to occur).
Version 2.82 -Fixed bug where WRF lat-lon regional and global domains were sometimes getting improperly cropped.
Version 2.81 -Fixed bug where map scale wasn't saved correctly for some domains causing a problem when re-loading the domain. Added error check to prevent users from entering their local computer name as an alias for a remote computer. Portal now defaults the date initially displayed in calendar component to the date string in the edit component (if date string exists), otherwise it defaults to current date.
Version 2.80 -Added support for running ensembles (a new tab on the workflow window)--this feature is only available when creating workflows that will use the external workflow manager (WFM). WFM can be installed from here and the path to WFM must be specified in Portal Wizard. This ensemble tab enables you to create multiple ensemble members and "ensemble-ize" namelist variables and environment variables. Also modified the launching of portal/WDW so it now allocates 675 MB of RAM on startup. This fixes the problem where sometimes WDW ran out of memory when rendering certain domains. Fixed WDW bug where, under some conditions, rendering the domain would freeze at 30% complete.
Version 2.75 -Doubled the resolution of world maps (see the difference here). Fixed mpirun error on some systems when using the def_real.rb and def_wrf.rb scripts. Improved thread syncing in RunMonitor window, fixed a couple minor bugs. If you run WRF Domain Wizard from within WRF Portal, 575 MB of RAM is now required.
Version 2.71 -fixed bug related to having new workflow run open and attempting to open an old workflow run, eliminated the annoying nag message "Save this run?" after launching a run (even though it was already saved), fixed bug where changing the selected computer on Run Workflow window didn't change the list of workflows, fixed bug in FileBrowser where pressing the Enter key to change directories did not work on some systems, fixed bug in WorkflowRunReport where task env vars were duplicated in report (e.g., 3 entries for each env var) fixed bug where task env vars were not being copied to new computer when copying workflows to a new computer, updated SQL library.
Version 2.70 -Improvements in workflow run error reporting, improved AIX support, bug fixes in Run Monitoring window, improved support for re-running selected tasks within a workflow, improved help info about FORMAT env variable for metgrid task, support for running Panoply (NetCDF/GRIB viewer) on Mac computers, improved login window for token (crypto card) based systems, improved Run Report
Version 2.50 -New report feature generates an HTML report about your run. Click the 'Report' button from the Run Monitor window. WDW--fixed WDW Polar Stereographic projection bug over either pole (gridpt distance was set to zero). Improved the precision of grid placement after doing Polar Stereographic projection over either pole. Improved WDW memory management (occasionally some JVMs were running out of stack memory and hanging during a map projection)
Version 2.35 -WRF Portal-->bug fix related to deleting Task Env Vars, close a resource leak related to running multiple workflows, numerous minor UI improvements. WRF Domain Wizard-->Fixed bug related to domains straddling the intl date line (180E) -- sometimes user drawn rectangle disappeared and domains weren't centered properly in some cases. Improved user friendliness of the login dialog window. Improved accuracy of placement of center of grid on large domains.
Version 2.31 -Added feature where you can copy a workflow for computer A as a workflow for computer B ("Copy As" button). Fixed bugs related to deleting tasks from Task Manager or deleting them from a workflow.
Version 2.30 -Added support for Ubuntu. added support for running workflows on systems where system date is not set to UTC, fixed bug where process IDs were incorrect in Run Monitor, improved support for different Linux configurations and shells, fixed bug related to halting a workflow failed to kill all jobs, add help for FORMAT env variable, fixed bug related to running multiple simultaneous workflows or halting/restarting a workflow and the original workflow was still in system, prevented users from editing env vars for "locked" workflows, numerous improvements to error messages and minor bug fixes, improved support for external workflow manager (WFM), fixed fonts for Ubuntu. Improved accuracy of HWRF domains, added support for a wider variety of Linux based systems with different shells and configurations. Improved error messages.
Version 2.20 -bug fixed related to saving workflows
Version 2.19 -fixed bug related to running real and wrf for domains with nests. run monitor enhancements. improved support for WFM (external workflow manager) with complex dependencies. cosmetic improvements. numerous small bug fixes.
Version 2.01 -Numerous small bug fixes. Improved reliability of monitoring and launching workflows on a variety of computing platforms. Updated file viewing capabilities (from File Browser to include .png, .jpg, .gif, NetCDF, and GRIB files).
Version 1.43 -Added additional display support files for Panoply viewer (color tables and map overlays)
Version 1.42 -Cosmetic improvements to WDW Horiz Editor, new version of Panoply NetCDF/GRIB/HDF viewer tool creates Google Earth (.kmz) files! From the Panoply window, choose a field to view in the map window, then go to "File" menu, "Export KMZ As." to export it to a Google Earth .kmz file. You can then load that .kmz file in Google Earth.
Version 1.41 - -Now redirecst both stdout AND stderr to the log file (for diagnostic/debugging reasons)
-WDW-Namelist.input editor doesn't initialize additional nests correctly when you added a nest to an existing domain
-WDW-Enable centerpt lat/lon after projection chosen. Also added centerpt lat/lon to Nests table.
-WDW-The SSH dialog displays the name of the local computer and adds that computer name to the drop down box (so users can choose it). If the user chooses the local computer name, the username/password boxes are disabled.
-WDW-Added Hurricane WRF (HWRF) support for WRF Domain Wizard (still under testing)
Version 1.40 - Increased version number to 1.40 so it is in sync with WDW version number. WDW - Added non-linear vertical grid stretcher window to the namelist.input editor screen, other minor improvements to namelist.input editor. Added error checking for invalid parent grid ratios, improved suggested timestep value in namelist.input for NMM domains
Version 1.14 -Portal - Fixed Task Manager bug where Import button wasn't enabled, fixed bug where general settings tab didn't appear and task dep did, removed hardcoding of /bin/csh and /bin/ksh for running csh and ksh scripts. Eliminated need to specify the /bin/ruby path (it figures it out automatically now)
Version 1.13 -WRF Domain Wizard - added more error checking for namelist.input editor. Portal - Improved the Diff tool, now auto download Panoply viewer on first use
Version 1.12 -WRF Domain Wizard change: Improved the accuracy of displaying the main grid when standardLon is different than centerPtLon
Version 1.11 -WRF Domain Wizard change: mproved the accuracy of displaying the main grid and nests over the map
Version 1.10 - support for PBS batch queue system with internal workflow manager, added backup/restore feature for standalone version of portal (HSQL database version), fixed problems with launching workflows on some systems, added external workflow manager support for complex dependencies based on files-time-deadlines and ability to run multiple tasks simultaneously, Fixed bug related to saving namelist.input, add dx-degrees and dy-degrees columns to the nests editor in WDW, minor Mac UI improvements, default computer mistakenly reset when running WDW inside WRF Portal, updated external workflow manager to version 1.5, other minor UI fixes
Version 1.04 - NMM projection bug, visualizing NMM files including nests, set WPS dir button in DW config dialog didn't work in some situations, namelist.input editor didn't set max_dom correctly sometimes, other minor UI fixes
Version 1.03 - Added support for viewing (visualizing) GRIB1 and GRIB2 files, improved file browser tool, also fixed WDW bug related to save/load the following parameters from namelist.wps, (ungribOutFormat, ungribPrefix, metgridFgName, metgridIoFormMetgrid)
Version 1.02 - Fixed WRF Domain Wizard bug where parent_ids weren't being set correctly in namelist.input file
Version 1.01 - Fixed directory name bug (for loading domains) that, apparently, only afflicted Mac users
Version 1.00 - Added support for computer aliases (useful when logging into supercomputer where front end node name can be different each time), added support for importing file into multiple tasks at one time (useful when you have workflow with many tasks running the same script), added GUI editor for namelist.input (inside WRF Domain Wizard tool) and made other fixes to WDW, improved Linux support --AIX-Ubuntu-Debian, numerous small bug fixes.
Version 0.96 - WDW improvements --higher quality jpegs, error msg and instructions if Panoply download fails due to firewall, minor gui improvements
Version 0.95 - Updated ssh library, new code for loading/saving jpeg images, minor GUI enhancements
Version 0.94 - Improved WRF 3 support, minor bug fixes and improvements.
Version 0.93 - Updates to WRF Domain Wizard for WRF 3 namelist.input, WPS 3 "lat-lon" regional and global domains, and visualizing NetCDF files in IDV and Google Earth.

Troubleshooting Tips

If WRF Portal won't start after you click the "launch" link above, you probably don't have Java installed on your computer. The software requires Java 1.5 or later to be installed on your desktop computer in order to run. Java 6 (or 1.6) is highly recommended for performance reasons. You can download the free Java Runtime Environment (JRE) here. Just download the JRE, install it, and then click the "launch" link (above) again.

If Java is installed on your desktop computer and yet the "launch" link still doesn't work, then Java Web Start isn't configured correctly on your computer's web browser. Here are instructions on how setup *.jnlp association for Java Web Start in various web browsers.

Optional: download the External (Ruby) Workflow Manager (version 2.0)

Download external workflow manager, version 2.0 (svn r43) (1.5 Mb)

Download the file, unzip in a directory, do the following (where $WFM_DIR is where you unzipped the WFM files):
cd $WFM_DIR/libxml-ruby-1.1.3/ext/libxml
ruby extconf.rb
cd to $WFM_DIR and change the .rb files to executable (chmod +x *.rb)

The older version 1.5 is here.

WRF Portal comes with an internal (Java) workflow manager built in. It is able to run your tasks (like ungrib, metgrid, real, and wrf) without a batch system (such as SGE or LSF). It will also report any errors and create log files for you.

The External Workflow Manager requires Ruby to run. Since it runs on the server on which WRF is installed, even if you shut down WRF Portal, it continues running and monitoring your jobs. It is also more robust (it can resubmit jobs on failure). You must have SGE or LSF installed in order to use the external workflow manager. Here is some documentation on the workflow manager.

When To Install and Use the External Workflow Manager

If you need the robustness of being able to resubmit jobs on failure, then install and use the External Workflow Manger. The external workflow manager requires either SGE or LSF (batch queue system).

Note: when using the External Workflow Manager, you can shut down WRF Portal after starting a workflow run, and the external workflow manager will continue to monitor the run and submit new jobs. Next time you start WRF Portal, it will update itself with the status of that workflow run.

When To Use the Internal Workflow Manager

If you don't use SGE or LSF to submit jobs (true on most desktop linux systems), then your only option is to use the internal workflow manager (note, however, that the Internal Workflow manager is flexible enough to use SGE or LSF if you want it to). Use this workflow manager if you don't want to bother with downloading and installing the External Workflow Manager.

Note: when using the Internal Workflow Manager, WRF Portal must continue running in order to be able to monitor and submit new jobs from your workflow.

Known Issues:

  1. Your output data directory (where your workflows are run) cannot reside on a Lustre file system since by default, Lustre doesn't support the 'flock' function. There is a workaround however: Lustre will work if your system administrator mounts Lustre with the '-o flock' option.