Is there some free simple Global Circulation Model that can handle tidally locked planets and can be easily compiled and used on a PC computer? It does not have to be very precise, I am interested mostly in demonstration of main features through broad spectrum of input parameters.

I have tried MIT GCM, which I found quite complicated to compile and run, and EdGCM, which is too much focused on climate on Earth and I didn't manage to modify it for other conditions. I have also tried PlaSim, which is perfect (easily compilable and modifiable), but so far it seems rather unstable when used on different conditions for which it was written. (Like tidal locked planet, which it cannot handle at all.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, there are models that can handle circulation on tidally locked planets, but I can't answer in the affirmative for "easily compiled" and there is certainly nothing easy about the theory in general. One can certainly make oversimplified models, which are almost guaranteed to be false, or one can try to do the right thing, and end up with having to understand lots of minutia. Climate science is already very hard for the few planets for which we have precision data. Why would it be any easier for planets for which we have almost no data, at all? $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Oct 9, 2014 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


After several times when I repeatedly returned to the problem, I finally found a model, which satisfies my original requirements. It is called THOR (github), it is developed for Ubuntu, is fairly easy to install and it works also on a single PC using GPU. Moreover, it supports various exoplanet conditions, like tidal-locking and non-shallow atmospheres of hot Jupiters. I am sharing this for anybody interested in the original question. It works well for me so far.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.