California Water and Environmental  Modeling Forum

Promoting Excellence and Consensus in Water and Environmental Modeling

In coordination with staff from
California Department of Water Resources

The CWEMF presents
Technical Training Workshop

Public Release of SELFE, a full 3-Dimensional
Model of the Bay-Delta

SELFEimageSELFE Workshop 1:

December 11, 2014, 10:30 am - 3:00 pm.
First floor hearing room at 901 P Street in Sacramento.
No charge for attendance, pre-registration is requested.
To register contact Elaine Archibald at

SELFE Workshop 2:

January 13-15, 20-22, & 27-29, 2015
Class limited to 15 students
Location:  DWR Training Center, Sacramento, 1721 13th Street, Sacramento
Cost: $450 for CWEMF members, $550 non-members.



SELFE is an open source flow and transport model developed to simulate circulation across river to ocean scales. The initial focus of the Bay-Delta SELFE calibration has been on the hydrodynamics, salinity transport and circulation-scale vertical flow structure, but the model is also associated with nutrient, water quality and sediment modules. This work is a collaboration between DWR and Joseph Zhang (Virginia Institute of Marine Science)

SELFE Workshop 1:

The first workshop will be a half day overview of Bay-Delta SELFE and is planned for December 11, 2014, 10:30 am – 3 pm and will take place in the first floor hearing room at 901 P Street in Sacramento.   The purpose of the workshop is to provide general information about SELFE and to release the model to the public.  This workshop will have two parts consisting of a management overview and modeler specific instructions to download and execute the model.  The first part, lasting for an hour, will cover:

  • the capabilities of the model,
  • factors differentiating SELFE from other modeling efforts in the region,
  • assumptions (e.g. resolution and boundary placement) underlying the application
  • initial calibration strengths and weaknesses,
  • costs and benefits of adopting the model at various levels, including training, hardware, culture shift and time and,
  • ongoing applications to drought water quality, scour, and island flooding as well as more elaborate multidisciplinary collaborations involving nutrient and mercury transport.

The second part of the first workshop is for modelers and will summarize how to download and execute the model.  It will briefly describe the information provided in the downloaded material and will show the file structures and functionalities.

Approximately one hour will be reserved for questions. 

SELFE Workshop 2:

The second workshop will be held in January 2015, on January 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29. The duration between the first and the second workshop is intended to provide enough time for modelers to familiarize with SELFE so that the hands-on second workshop will be effective. The material covered will include:

  • model setup,
  • algorithm details, options and best practices for the Bay-Delta,   
  • assumptions (e.g. resolution and boundary placement) underlying the Bay-Delta application,
  • visualization of multi-dimensional output,
  • mesh extension, detailed near field modeling and performance tuning, and
  • how to find information and resources for running SELFE.

This workshop assumes some familiarity with modeling and hydrodynamics. Assuming there is interest, DWR will incorporate or supplement the training with sessions on skills that should make the sessions more valuable: tidal analysis, python scripting and the basics of estuarine circulation.