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Year of publication:
hydrologysoil-physicscropbiogeochemicalplant-soilvadose-zonesite sub-catchmentcatchment-n-regional1D 3D



Gabriele Antolini, Fausto Tomei, Antonio Volta
(Arpae Emilia-Romagna, Osservatorio Clima)

Marco Bittelli
(University of Bologna)


contribution from:

Laura Costantini, Luca Criscuolo, Francesco Dottori, Giorgio Ducco, Giovanna Fontana, Nicola Laruccia, Alberto Pistocchi, William Pratizzoli, Tomaso Tonelli, Margot van Soetendael, Giulia Villani,  Franco Zinoni






CRITERIA is a suite of soil water balance and crop modeling systems developed by the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Energy (Arpae) of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It includes two main software: CRITERIA-1D/GEO and CRITERIA-3D.

CRITERIA-1D is a agro-hydrological model simulating one-dimensional water fluxes, crop development and crop water needs. The soil and crop parameters can be defined at different level of detail. It requires as input daily agro-meteorological data: minimum and maximum air temperature, total precipitation and, if available, data of hypodermic water table depth to estimate the capillary rise. The output is stored in a SQLite database and can be exported to csv, shapefile or raster data using the CriteriaOutput tool. The software is multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac OS).

The older version of CRITERIA-1D is Criteria Bdp (only for Windows) which is still available because some modelling libraries have not been transferred to CRITERIA-1D yet. This includes soil water balance, crop development, nitrogen balance, crop rotation and soil tillage. Criteria Bdp is progressively being tranlated in CRITERIA-1D.

CRITERIA-GEO is a GIS interface for managing geographical input/output of CRITERIA-1D model: crop map, soil map, meteorological grid and computation units map. A computation unit is defined as a different combination of crop, soil and meteorological data.

CRITERIA-3D is a three-dimensional water balance for small catchments. It includes a numerical solution for three-dimensional water and heat flow in the soil, coupled surface and subsurface flow, meteorological data interpolation, radiation budget, crop development and crop water uptake. It needs hourly meteorological data as input.


Screen shots


Scientific articles

2020. Suciu, N., Farolfi, C., Marsala, R. Z., Russo, E., De Crema, M., Peroncini, E., ... & Colla, R. Evaluation of groundwater contamination sources by plant protection products in hilly vineyards of Northern Italy. Science of The Total Environment, 141495.

2018. Strati, V., Albéri, M., Anconelli, S., Baldoncini, M., Bittelli, M., Bottardi, C., Solimando, D., Tomei, F., Villani, G., & Mantovani, F. Modelling soil water content in a tomato field: proximal gamma ray spectroscopy and soil–crop system models. Agriculture, 8(4), 60.

2016. Consoli, S., Licciardello, F., Vanella, D., Pasotti, L., Villani, G., & Tomei, F. Testing the water balance model criteria using TDR measurements, micrometeorological data and satellite-based information. Agricultural Water Management, 170, 68-80.

2015. Bittelli, M., G. S. Campbell and F. Tomei. Soil Physics with Python, Transport in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System. Oxford University Press, 464 pages, ISBN: 978-0-19-968309-3.

2010. Bittelli M., Tomei F., Pistocchi A., Flury M., Boll J., Brooks E.S., Antolini G. Development and testing of a physically based, three-dimensional model of surface and subsurface hydrology. Adv. Wat. Resour., 33, 106-122.

2007. Marletto V., Ventura F., Fontana G., Tomei F. Wheat growth simulation and yield prediction with seasonal forecasts and a numerical model. Agric. For. Meteor. 147:71-79.

2005. Marletto V., Zinoni F., Criscuolo L., Fontana G., Marchesi S., Morgillo A., Van Soetendael M., Ceotto E., Andersen U. Evaluation of downscaled DEMETER multi-model ensemble seasonal hindcasts in a northern Italy location by means of a model of wheat growth and soil water balance. Tellus A, 57(3), 488-497.

Full list available at the website


Technical information

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, MacOS

Licence: The applications are released under the GNU GPL license, the libraries are released under the GNU LGPL license. Criteria BdP is freely downloadable but the code is not available.


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