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not enough eta levels to reach p_top

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New member

I am trying to do the tutorial on this website:

I am getting this error:
not enough eta levels to reach p_top

How can I get my eta levels to reach the p_top?
I am a bit confused by this error, google shows zero results for this exact error too.
Do certain things from the namelist.wps and namelist.input files need to be equal? and if so, which variables are they that control p_top and eta_levels?

It's kind of confused here because I have had this working before (a few months ago) but I have no idea why it is not working now.

Thank you for your help,

PS, I have attached all the files I think would be useful, hopefully you'll see something I don't!


  • namelist.input
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  • rsl.out.0000.log
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  • rsl.out.error.log
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  • namelist.wps
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Can you tell me what data you are using to drive the model? What is the top level of this data?

Ming Chen
Hi Ming Chen,

I am using the data linked there at:

It's just a tutorial for WRF and WPS. It's Jan2000 data and is given on the top of this page:

Thank you.
Did you follow the instruction to get the data, ungrib it, and then run metered.exe? If fo, Can you attach a single met_em file for me to take a look?

Ming Chen
Hi Ming Chen,

Yes, I did all that. I have attached 4 files:
cp met_em.d01.2000-01-24_12\:00\
./geogrid.exe >& geogrid.log
./ungrib.exe >& ungrib_data.log
./metgrid.exe >& metgrid.log

The exe files all seem to work fine.

Thank you.


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  • ungrib_data.log
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  • metgrid.log
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  • geogrid.log
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Please re-upload I downloaded this file but it is not a netCDF format data.

Ming Chen
I try to look at this file by ncdump, but it shows

ncdump: NetCDF: Unknown file format

Can you double check?

Ming Chen
I can run ncdump on it.
I will print out the output for you in another file.


  • met_em_ncdump.log
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The met_em file looks fine.
Please try the following option: set e_vert = 40, 40, 40 and rerun real.
if this works fine, it indicates that the input data is correct. Then you can change the number of vertical levels to make it appropriate for your case. Pleas note that the number of vertical levels shouldn't be too small ( e.g., less than 30 or so). It should be at least 32 or more to ensure the depth of vertical layer not larger than 1000m.

Please let me know if you still have problems running REAL.

Ming Chen
hi Ming Chen,

That worked perfectly, thank you!
I guess the tutorial just needs updating.

All the best!
Thanks for letting me know. Yes the online tutorial page is pretty old. We do need to update it.

Ming Chen
@Doofus: I just updated all of the online tutorial cases to increase the setting for e_vert to 40. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!