Basic installation#

The simplest way to install the Parcels code is to use Anaconda and the Parcels conda-forge package with the latest release of Parcels. This package will automatically install all the requirements for a fully functional installation of Parcels. This is the “batteries-included” solution probably suitable for most users.

If you want to install the latest development version of Parcels and work with features that have not yet been officially released, you can follow the instructions for a developer installation.

The steps below are the installation instructions for Linux, macOS and Windows.

Step 1: Install Anaconda’s Miniconda following the steps at, making sure to select the Python-3 version. If you’re on Linux /macOS, the following assumes that you installed Miniconda to your home directory.

Step 2: Start a terminal (Linux / macOS) or the Anaconda prompt (Windows). Activate the base environment of your Miniconda and create an environment containing Parcels, all its essential dependencies, and the nice-to-have cartopy and jupyter packages:

conda activate base
conda create -n parcels -c conda-forge parcels cartopy jupyter


For some of the examples, pytest also needs to be installed. This can be quickly done with conda install -n parcels pytest which installs pytest directly into the newly created parcels environment.

Step 3: Activate the newly created Parcels environment:

conda activate parcels

Step 4: Download a zipped copy of the Parcels tutorials and examples and unzip it.

Step 5: Go to the unzipped folder and run one of the examples to validate that you have a working Parcels setup:

python --fieldset 100 100


If you are on macOS and get a compilation error, you may need to accept the Apple xcode license xcode-select --install. If this does not solve the compilation error, you may want to try running export CC=gcc. If the compilation error remains, you may want to check this solution.

Optionally: if you want to run all the examples and tutorials, start Jupyter and open the tutorial notebooks:

jupyter notebook


The next time you start a terminal and want to work with Parcels, activate the environment with:

conda activate parcels

Installation for developers#

If you would prefer to have a development installation of Parcels (i.e., where the code can be actively editted), you can do so by cloning the Parcels repo, installing dependencies using the environment file (which includes Python, netCDF tooling, a C compiler, and various Python packages), and then installing Parcels in an editable mode such that changes to the cloned code can be tested during development.

git clone
cd parcels
conda env create -f environment_py3_<OS>.yml  # where <OS> is either linux, osx or win

Then activate the environment and install Parcels in editable mode:

conda activate parcels
pip install --no-build-isolation --no-deps -e .