MuSICA model

Short description

MuSICA_general_diagramMuSICA has been primarily developed to simulate the exchanges of mass (water, CO2) and energy in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum. It assumes the terrain to be relatively flat and the vegetation horizontally homogeneous. Several species can share a common soil and are then discretised into several vegetation layers (typically 10-15) where several species can cohabit, several leaf types (sunlit/shaded, wet/dry) for each cohort and species (up to 3 annual cohorts per species) and several soil layers. Stand structure is therefore explicitly accounted for and competition for light and water between species can be explored. The model typically produces output at a 30-min time step and can be run over multiple years or decades as long as the vegetation structure is given. So far, the model has been applied to boreal, temperate, Mediterranean and semi-arid forests, temperate grasslands, wheat fields as well as bare soils.

The current version of MuSICA has been entirely re-written compared to the earlier versions used in previous publications (Ogée et al. 2003a, 2003b, 2004, 2009; Wingate et al. 2010). In the current version, the radiative transfer scheme has been modified and is now based on the radiosity method to support multiple species in a given vegetation layer (Sinoquet & Bonhomme, 1992, Sinoquet et al. 2001) and can be applied to both broad-leaf and needle-leaf species. The so-called force-restore scheme used previously to describe the water and energy transfer in soils and litter (Ogée & Brunet, 2002) has also been replaced by a multi-layer soil transfer scheme (Braud et al. 1995) that explicitly represents root water uptake profiles (Cowan, 1965) and root cavitation for each species, as well as plant water storage and  soil water hydraulic redistribution (Domec et al., 2012). The turbulent transfer scheme is unchanged (Raupach, 1989) but some more generic parameterisation have been introduced (Massman & Weil, 1999). Leaf-to-air energy, water and CO2 exchange is described in a similar fashion as in the original version and consists of a photosynthesis model (Farquhar et al. 1980), a stomatal conductance model (Ball et al. 1987; Leuning, 1995), a leaf boundary-layer model (Nikolov et al. 1995) and a leaf energy budget equation. Rain interception, leaf wetness duration and evaporation are computed for each species and vegetation layer using the concept of maximum storage capacity (Rutter et al. 1971).

Ball J.T., Woodrow I.E. & Berry J.A. (1987) In: Progress in Photosynthesis (ed I. Biggins), pp. 221-224. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Netherlands. | Braud I., Dantas-Antonino A.C., Vauclin M. et al. (1995) Journal of Hydrology, 166, 213-250. | Cowan I.R. (1965) Journal of Applied Ecology, 2, 221-239. | Deardoff J.W. (1978) Journal of Geophysical Research, 83, 1189-1903. | Domec J.C. et al. (2012) Tree Physiology, 32, 707–723. | Farquhar G.D., von Caemmerer S. & Berry J.A. (1980) Planta, 149, 78-90. | Grant R.H. (1984) Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 32, 145-156. | Leuning R. (1995) Plant, Cell and Environment, 18, 339-355. | Massman W.J. & Weil J.C. (1999) Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 91, 81-107. | Nikolov N., Massman W. & Schoettle A. (1995) Ecological Modelling, 80, 205-235. | Ogée J., Barbour M.M., Wingate L. et al. (2009) Plant, Cell & Environment, 32, 1071-1090. | Ogée J. & Brunet Y. (2002) Journal of Hydrology, 255, 212-233. | Ogée J., Brunet Y., Loustau D. et al. (2003) Global Change Biology, 9, 697-717. | Ogée J., Peylin P., Ciais P. et al. (2003) Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 17, GB1070, doi:1010.1029/2002GB001995. | Raupach M.R. (1989) Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 115, 609-632. | Rutter A.J. et al. (1971) Agricultural Meteorology, 9, 367-384. | Sinoquet H. & Bonhomme R. (1992) Modeling radiative transfer in mixed and row intercropping systems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 62, 219-240. | Sinoquet H. et al. (2001) Plant, Cell & Environment, 24, 395-406. | Williams M., Bond B.J. & Ryan M.G. (2001) Plant, Cell and Environment, 24, 679–690. | Wingate L. et al. (2010) New Phytologist, 188, 576–589.


The code of MuSICA is written in Fortran 90 with scripts to handle multi-dimensionnal input/output written in Python 3.0.  It is available upon request to at the following repository:

References using MuSICA

Model original description

Ogée J, Brunet Y, Loustau D, Berbigier P, Delzon S (2003) MuSICA, a CO2, water and energy multilayer, multileaf pine forest model: evaluation from hourly to yearly time scales and sensitivity analysis. Global Change Biology, 9, 697–717.

Examples of applications to study processes related to soil-plant hydraulics

Domec JC, Ogée J, Noormets A et al. (2012) Interactive effects of nocturnal transpiration and climate change on the root hydraulic redistribution and carbon and water budgets of southern United States pine plantations. Tree Physiology, 32, 707–723.

Mcdowell NG, Williams AP, Xu C et al. (2016) Multi-scale predictions of massive conifer mortality due to chronic temperature rise. Nature Climate Change, 6, 295–300.

Mcdowell NG, Fisher RA, Xu C et al. (2013) Evaluating theories of drought-induced vegetation mortality using a multimodel-experiment framework. The New phytologist, 200, 304–321.

Klein T, Rotenberg E, Cohen-Hilaleh E et al. (2014) Quantifying transpirable soil water and its relations to tree water use dynamics in a water-limited pine forest. Ecohydrology, 7, 409–419.

Examples of applications to study biospheric CO2 and water stable isotope signals

Gangi L, Rothfuss Y, Ogée J, Wingate L, Vereecken H, Brüggemann N (2015) A New Method for In Situ Measurements of Oxygen Isotopologues of Soil Water and Carbon Dioxide with High Time Resolution. Vadose Zone Journal, 14.

Hirl RT, Schnyder H, Ostler U et al. (2019) The 18O ecohydrology of a grassland ecosystem – predictions and observations. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23, 2581–2600.

Wingate L, Ogée J, Burlett R, Bosc A (2010) Strong seasonal disequilibrium measured between the oxygen isotope signals of leaf and soil CO2 exchange. Global Change Biology, 16, 3048–3064.

Examples of applications to study deposition of pollutants onto vegetation canopies

Potier E, Ogée J, Jouanguy J et al. (2015) Multilayer modelling of ozone fluxes on winter wheat reveals large deposition on wet senescing leaves. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 211-212, 58–71.

Examples of applications to study land-atmosphere CO2 and water exchange

Gennaretti F, Ogée J, Sainte-Marie J, Cuntz M (2020) Mining ecophysiological responses of European beech ecosystems to drought. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 280, 107780.

Nelson JA, Carvalhais N, Cuntz M et al. (2018) Coupling Water and Carbon Fluxes to Constrain Estimates of Transpiration: The TEA Algorithm. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123, 3617–3632.

Tramontana G, Migliavacca M, Jung M et al. (2020) Partitioning net carbon dioxide fluxes into photosynthesis and respiration using neural networks. Global Change Biology, gcb.15203.

Examples of applications to study tree-ring 13C/12C and 18O/16O signals

Giuggiola A, Ogée J, Rigling A, Gessler A, Bugmann H, Treydte K (2016) Improvement of water and light availability after thinning at a xeric site: which matters more? A dual isotope approach. The New phytologist, 210, 108–121.

Ogée J, Barbour MM, Wingate L et al. (2009) A single-substrate model to interpret intra-annual stable isotope signals in tree-ring cellulose. Plant Cell and Environment, 32, 1071–1090.

Distribution policy

MuSICA v2.0.x is intellectual property of INRA, 147 rue de l’Université, 75338 Paris Cedex 07, under the inter deposit digital number IDDN.FR.001.200002.000.R.P.2011.000.31235. It is distributed under a CC-BY-NC licence type, with the following conditions:

  • Users of MuSICA in work leading to scientific publications should quote at least one of the publications describing MuSICA.
  • MuSICA cannot be used for commercial purposes or integrated with commercial software platforms.
  •  In order to ensure coherence in model development,  short information statement about the project or reasons for using MuSICA should be sent to or
  • We do not take responsibility for any result from the use of the software.
  • We do not accept liability for any damage due to the use of the software.
  • We do not guarantee user support.
  • Co-authorship of scientific articles should be proposed to MuSICA core developers in case substantial help was provided in setting up, modifying or running MuSICA.
  • An electronic copy of any publication (report, scientific article…) using MuSICA should be sent within 1 year after publication to

MuSICA training

1-week training sessions to the MuSICA model are organised regularly at the INRAE campus in Bordeaux. If you are interested, please contact or