Installing Clawpack

See also:

Register: Please register if you have not already done so. This is very useful in helping us track the extent of usage, and important to the Funding agencies who support this work. Please also see Citing this work.

Prerequisites: Before installing, check that you have the Installation Prerequisites.

Environment variables: If you are using the Fortran versions in Classic, AMRClaw, or GeoClaw then after installing you also need to set the CLAW environment variable, and perhaps also the Fortran compiler variable FC. For example (in a bash shell):

export CLAW=/full/path/to/clawpack  # to top level clawpack directory
export FC=gfortran                  # or other preferred Fortran compiler

See Set environment variables for more information.

Python path: Below we suggest using pip install to set up your Python path to point to the desired version of Clawpack. As long as the top level clawpack directory is on your path, you should be able to import the necessary modules in Python. Instead of pip, you can also set the PYTHONPATH environment variable to point to a particular version of Clawpack, but this is not recommended. See Python path for more details and tips on sorting out your path.

Components: See Clawpack components for a list of what is generally included under the top level clawpack directory when using any of the approaches below. (And what is not included, e.g. the Clawpack Applications repository.)

Installation Options

Installing Clawpack requires downloading some version and then setting paths so that Python import statements (and possibly Fortran Makefiles) find the desired version. Before installing, read about environment variables and Python path above if you haven’t already.

Installing with pip also compiles Riemann solvers written in Fortran for use in PyClaw. If you get a Fortran error message when installing, see Setting the Fortran compiler to be used by f2py (pip). See also Fortran.

pip install

The recommended approach is to use pip install. You can download and install with a single command, and you can also use pip to switch to a different version of Clawpack (i.e. to modify your Python path) if you have reason to have multiple versions on your computer.

Depending on your needs, if you only want to use PyClaw it may be as simple as:

pip install clawpack

but first see Installation instructions (pip) for more discussion and instructions, since we recommend a more complicated version of this command for most purposes.

tar file

You can download the most recent (or certain previous versions) of Clawpack as a tar file. After untarring this, you can use pip install (and set CLAW if necessary) to point to this version.

After downloading a tar file you can do, e.g.

tar -xzf clawpack-v5.5.0.tar.gz
cd clawpack-v5.5.0
pip install --user -e .   # note trailing dot indicating "this directory"
export CLAW=/full/path/to/clawpack-v5.5.0

git clone

You can clone the git repositories from This is particularly useful if you want the latest development version or a branch that is not in a release yet, and/or if you plan to contribute to the code yourself via a pull request. See Developers’ Guide for more details, but the basic commands are:

git clone git://
cd clawpack
git submodule init      # for repositories pyclaw, clawutil, visclaw, etc.
git submodule update    # clones all the submodule repositories
pip install --user -e . # note trailing dot indicating "this directory"
export CLAW=/full/path/to/clawpack

Using conda (does not require a Fortran compiler)

You can install PyClaw and VisClaw only (without AMRClaw, GeoClaw, or Classic) via the conda package manager. Conda binaries are available for Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux (may work on other flavors of Linux), using Python 2.7 or 3.6. See

From a terminal, simply do:

conda install -c clawpack -c conda-forge clawpack

You might want to consider first creating a separate conda environment if you want to separate Clawpack and its dependencies from other versions of Python code.


Instead of installing Clawpack and all its dependencies, another alternative is Docker for Clawpack. The Docker image already contains not only Clawpack but also all the Installation Prerequisites.

Installing PyClaw for parallel processing with PETSc

First, install Clawpack. Then see the install instructions for Running in parallel.

Alternatively, you may use the following shell scripts (assembled by Damian San Roman) to install everything:

Next steps:

Once Clawpack is installed, you can go to one of the following pages to get started: