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Rosetta: a pedotransfer function used to predict soil hydraulic parameters
Year of publication: 2017
vadose zonehydrologyland-surface-modelssoil-physicscritical-zonesoil-hydraulic-parameters

Marcel Schaap

Yonggen Zhang


Rosetta (Schaap et al., 2001) is a popularly used pedotransfer function used to estimate soil hydraulic parameters. The code is based on artificial neural network analysis coupled with bootstrap re-sampling method, which allows the estimation of van Genuchten water retention parameters (van Genuchten, 1980), saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks), and their uncertainties.

Zhang & Schaap (2017) developed a new Rosetta model (Rosetta3 model) that unify the water retention and Ks submodels into one. The models have less bias and better performance in terms of observed quantities. The new model provides a covariance matrix of parameters and also a more accurate parameter distribution (α-stable distribution).


web-based interface of the Rosetta model developed by Todd Skaggs (USDA-ARS) and Ehsan Ghane (Michigan State University) can be accessed, respectively, by and  


The python version (compatible with python 2 and python 3) of Rosetta 1 and Rosetta 3 code is available for download at along with a user manual. This code is intended for users/developers familiar with the python programming language, and it works in Linux, Windows 7+, and Mac OSX, independent of the Operating System.


The rosetta-soil python package by Todd Skaggs (USDA-ARS) is now on pypi and can be installed with pip install rosetta-soil.  The project page with instructions is at


The R version of the Rosetta3 code was developed by Dr. Todd Skaggs (USDA-ARS) and you may find the details of how to install, make a prediction, and make graphs of the Rosetta model using R code by accessing


Technical information

Operating system(s): Windows, macOS, Linux

License: freely available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License or (at your option) any later version.

Output(s): soil hydraulic parameters, including residual water content, saturated water content, alpha, n, and saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks).



Version 1: Schaap, M.G., Leij, F.J., van Genuchten, M.T., 2001. ROSETTA: A computer program for estimating soil hydraulic parameters with hierarchical pedotransfer functions. Journal of Hydrology 251, 163–176.

Version2: Schaap, M.G., A. Nemes, and M.T. van Genuchten. 2004. Comparison of Models for Indirect Estimation of Water Retention and Available Water in Surface Soils. Vadose Zone Journal 3(4): 1455-1463. doi:

Version3: Zhang, Y., Schaap, M.G., 2017. Weighted Recalibration of the Rosetta Pedotransfer Model with Improved Estimates of Hydraulic Parameter Distributions and Summary Statistics (Rosetta3). Journal of Hydrology 547, 39–53.

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