This section of the tutorial will explain how to get the EC-Earth 4 source code and how to install the tools needed to build and run EC-Earth 4.


EC-Earth 4 is not free or open source software! Some of the software components that make up EC-Earth 4 require the user to aquire a license. Furthermore, the use of EC-Earth 4 is restricted to EC-Earth consortium member institutions.

An account at the EC-Earth Development Portal is needed to access the EC-Earth 4 source code.

Checking out the EC-Earth 4 source code

The EC-Earth 4 source code is provided as a Subversion repository at the EC-Earth Development Portal. To get the current version of the code, use your login credentials and check out:

> svn checkout ece-4


The name of the directory (ece-4 above) is just an example. You can chose any other directory, but ece-4 will be used throughout this tutorial.

It is assumed from now on, that you are located within the ece-4 directory (or a subdirectory thereunder), unless noted otherwise. The current directory will be indicated by the prompt used in the code snippets.

Creating a Python virtual environment

ScriptEngine and it’s dependencies are written in Python3 and they are provided as Python packages. It is usually a good idea to install packages in user space and a Python virtual environment will be used in this tutorial to install all requirements. For a detailed description of ScriptEngine installation (including other installation options like Conda), have a look at the ScriptEngine documentation

As a first step, check the Python version available by default:

ece-4 > python --version
Python 3.8.3

Make sure that the version reported is between 3.6 and 3.8 (inclusive), where the patch level (the last part of the dot-separated version number) does not matter. On some systems, the default python executable may still point to some Python2 version. In this case, try python3 --version and use python3 also in the next step.

Now, create a new virtual environment in the EC-Earth 4 directory with:

ece-4> python -m venv .ECE4

which will create a .ECE4 directory for the environment.


Again, the name of the directory for the virtual environment (.ECE4) is an example and any other name may be chosen. In the example above, a hidded directory (the name starting with a dot) is used in order to keep the EC-Earth 4 source and runtime directory clean.

The virtual Python environment is only created once, but it has to be activated each time it is to be used, and also for each shell it is to be used in. Activating the virtual environment is done by sourcing the activate script in the environment directory:

ece-4> source .ECE4/bin/activate

after which the prompt should change to show the activation status:

(.ECE4) ece-4>

This prompt will be used in the examples of this tutorial, providing a reminder that the environment must be activated.


It may be convenient to create a symbolic link with ln -s .ECE4/bin/activate, after which the environment can be activated by typing . activate in the ece-4 directory.

It is always a good idea to upgrade the Python package manager, pip, in a new virtual environment:

(.ECE4) ece-4> pip install -U pip

after which the environment is ready for the installation of ScriptEngine.

Installing ScriptEngine

Since ScriptEngine is provided as a package at PyPi, it can easily be installed with pip:

(.ECE4) ece-4> pip install scriptengine

Some of the runtime scripts use a particular ScriptEngine task package, so it is best installed right away:

(.ECE4) ece-4> pip install scriptengine-tasks-hpc

This completes the ScriptEngine installation. It can be tested with:

(.ECE4) ece-4> se --version

(Note that the version can differ, but it should not be lower than 0.12.4)

Installing the OCP-Tool

The OCP-Tool is used in EC-Earth 4 to automatically create most of the grid description files needed by the OASIS3-MCT coupler for the combination of grids that is used for a particular experiment. The original implementation has been extended to include the grids of all EC-Earth 4 components in the GCM configuration. Hence, we will have to use the extended version until the changes are merged.

The OCP-Tool is downloaded (cloned) from Github and installed locally in the EC-Earth 4 virtual environment:

(.ECE4) ece-4> cd ..
(.ECE4) > git clone
(.ECE4) > cd ocp-tool
(.ECE4) ocp-tool> pip install -e .


The installation of the OCP-Tools is still a bit difficult at the moment, because it is still very much under development. The last steps could be much simplified by providing an OCP-Tool package at Pypi and this will be considered in the future.

Once the installation of the OCP-Tool is successful, we can go back to the EC-Earth 4 directory:

(.ECE4) ocp-tool> cd ../ece-4
(.ECE4) ece-4>

This completes the preparations of the tutorial and the EC-Earth 4 is now installed along with all tools needed to build and run it.