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


Vittorio Marletto, Gabriele Antolini, Fausto Tomei, Giulia Villani, Antonio Volta, William Pratizzoli

(ARPAE Hydro-Meteo-Climate Service)

Marco Bittelli

(University of Bologna)

contribution from Franco Zinoni, Tomaso Tonelli, Francesco Dottori, Giorgio Ducco, Margot van Soetendael, Luca Criscuolo, Alberto Pistocchi, Giovanna Fontana, Nicola Laruccia





CRITERIA is a suite of soil water balance and crop modelling systems developed by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA) of the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. It includes three main software: CRITERIA-1D, CRITERIA.NET and CRITERIA-3D. CRITERIA-1D is a one-dimensional model simulating the soil water balance, the nitrogen balance, the crop development. For some limited crops, CRITERIA can be coupled with Wofost model to estimate crop growth. The CRITERIA-1D model simulates soil water movement by using a simplified model (tipping bucket) or a numerical model. The model requires as input at least daily data of temperature and precipitation, soil texture, and crop management information (sowing, tillage, fertilization, irrigation). An irrigation automatic scheduling system can also be run.

CRITERIA.NET is a geographical version for regional scale applications, implementing the same algorithms of the one-dimensional version. It includes a GIS interface for managing geographical input and output: crop map, soil map, meteorological grid and simulation grid units.

CRITERIA-3D is a C library implementing a three-dimensional water balance for small catchments. It includes a coupled surface and subsurface flow and it needs hourly or sub-hourly meteo data as input. At today there are two software using the library. One is the European FP7 European Project VINTAGE (, the second is the software PRAGA, developed by ARPA for agro-meteorological use, including snow accumulation and melting, topography dependent solar radiation and crop growth.

CRITERIA-1D is freely downloadable from the website. The C library CRITERIA-3D is available on demand from the authors. CRITERIA.NET and PRAGA are available for purchase or scientific use by contacting


Screen shots


Scientific articles

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

Licence: See above

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