CLiDE environmental modelling platform

Environmental response to climate change is potentially complex, as surface-processes are coupled to varying degrees. In response to the lack of appropriate holistic models tackling environmental change, the BGS initiated a research programme to address the dynamics of environmental sensitivity to climate change (DESC).

A conceptual model of the hydrological processes of the CLiDE environmental modelling platform.

The DESC project seeks to explore the interactions that exist between Earth systems at a range of spatio-temporal scales by coupling current landscape evolution modelling technologies to a host of bespoke geo-processing modules. To achieve this, CAESAR-Lisflood-DESC (CLiDE) platform, a quasi-three-dimensional geomorphological simulator that couples cellular automata modelling from various backgrounds, was developed. CLiDE is designed primarily for environmental systems research at the annual to decadal scale and is particularly focussed on system interaction.

CLiDE is a platform from which a variety of climate-derived, looped feedback earth systems research can be undertaken at daily to centennial timescales. A derived version of the well established CAESAR model, CAESAR-Lisflood, is used as the platform kernel. The surface water partitioning and subsurface water routing components of the model have since been replaced with a distributed hydrological model. To deal with complex energy and sediment fluxes that occur during a debris flow, a modified version of the SCIDDICA model has been incorporated into the CLiDE platform.

The CLiDE platform is currently being used in conjunction with Ghent University to assess the link between changes in land use and climate and gully development in Ethiopia and France and in conjunction with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur to simulate erosion and sediment transport processes in the Ganges basin.


Barkwith, A, Hurst, M D, Jackson, C R, Wang, L, Ellis, M A, and Coulthard, T J. 2015. Simulating the influences of groundwater on regional geomorphology using a distributed, dynamic, landscape evolution modelling platform. Environmental Modelling and Software, 74, 1-20.

Barkwith, A, and Coulthard, T, 2014: CLiDE V1.0 user guide. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 54pp. (OR/14/011)

Tye, A M, Hurst, M D, Barkwith, A K A P. 2013. Nene phosphate in sediment investigation - Environment Agency Project REF: 30258. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 95pp. (OR/13/031)

Barkwith, Andrew; Hurst, Martin; Ellis, Michael; Coulthard, Thomas. 2014. Assessing the impacts of climate, groundwater and land use on regional geomorpholog. [Poster] In: AGU Fall Meeting 2014, San Francisco, USA, 15-19 Dec 2014.


Please enter your details to download the CLiDE executable, source code (c# .NET) and example input files.

Terms of use

These data are delivered under the GNU Licence of the CAESAR-Lisflood model.


Contact Dr Andrew Barkwith for more information.