subplots(array=None, ncols=1, nrows=1, ref=1, order='C', aspect=1, figsize=None, width=None, height=None, journal=None, axwidth=None, axheight=None, hspace=None, wspace=None, space=None, hratios=None, wratios=None, width_ratios=None, height_ratios=None, left=None, bottom=None, right=None, top=None, basemap=None, proj=None, projection=None, proj_kw=None, projection_kw=None, **kwargs)[source]

Create a figure with a single subplot or arbitrary grids of subplots, analogous to matplotlib.pyplot.subplots. The subplots can be drawn with arbitrary projections.

  • array (2d array-like of int, optional) – Array specifying complex grid of subplots. Think of this array as a “picture” of your figure. For example, the array [[1, 1], [2, 3]] creates one long subplot in the top row, two smaller subplots in the bottom row. Integers must range from 1 to the number of plots.

    0 indicates an empty space. For example, [[1, 1, 1], [2, 0, 3]] creates one long subplot in the top row with two subplots in the bottom row separated by a space.

  • ncols, nrows (int, optional) – Number of columns, rows. Ignored if array was passed. Use these arguments for simpler subplot grids.

  • order ({‘C’, ‘F’}, optional) – Whether subplots are numbered in column-major ('C') or row-major ('F') order. Analogous to numpy.array ordering. This controls the order that subplots appear in the SubplotsContainer returned by this function, and the order of subplot a-b-c labels (see format).

  • figsize (length-2 tuple, optional) – Tuple specifying the figure (width, height).

  • width, height (float or str, optional) – The figure width and height. If you specify just one, the aspect ratio aspect of the reference subplot ref will be preserved.

  • ref (int, optional) – The reference subplot number. The axwidth, axheight, and aspect keyword args are applied to this subplot, and the aspect ratio is conserved for this subplot in the tight layout adjustment. If you did not specify width_ratios and height_ratios, the axwidth, axheight, and aspect settings will apply to all subplots – not just the ref subplot.

  • axwidth, axheight (float or str, optional) – The width, height of the reference subplot. Units are interpreted by units. Default is rc[‘subplots.axwidth’] = '20em'. Ignored if width, height, or figsize was passed.

  • aspect (float or length-2 list of floats, optional) – The reference subplot aspect ratio, in numeric form (width divided by height) or as a (width, height) tuple. Ignored if both width and height or both axwidth and axheight were passed.

  • width_ratios, height_ratios (float or list thereof, optional) – Passed to GridSpec, denotes the width and height ratios for the subplot grid. Length of width_ratios must match the number of rows, and length of height_ratios must match the number of columns.

  • wratios, hratios – Aliases for width_ratios, height_ratios.

  • wspace, hspace, space (float or str or list thereof, optional) – Passed to GridSpec, denotes the spacing between grid columns, rows, and both, respectively. If float or string, expanded into lists of length ncols - 1 (for wspace) or length nrows - 1 (for hspace).

    Units are interpreted by units for each element of the list. By default, these are determined by the “tight layout” algorithm.

  • left, right, top, bottom (float or str, optional) – Passed to GridSpec, denotes the width of padding between the subplots and the figure edge. Units are interpreted by units. By default, these are determined by the “tight layout” algorithm.

  • proj, projection (str,, Basemap, list thereof, or dict thereof, optional) – The map projection specification(s). If 'cartesian' (the default), a CartesianAxes is created. If 'polar', a PolarAxes is created. Otherwise, the argument is interpreted by Proj, and the result is used to make a GeoAxes (in this case the argument can be a instance, a Basemap instance, or a projection name listed in this table).

    To use different projections for different subplots, you have two options:

    • Pass a list of projection specifications, one for each subplot. For example, plot.subplots(ncols=2, proj=('cartesian', 'robin')).

    • Pass a dictionary of projection specifications, where the keys are integers or tuples of integers that indicate the projection to use for the corresponding subplot(s). If a key is not provided, the default projection 'cartesian' is used. For example, plot.subplots(ncols=4, proj={2: 'merc', (3, 4): 'stere'}) creates a figure with a Cartesian axes for the first subplot, a Mercator projection for the second subplot, and a Stereographic projection for the third and fourth subplots.

  • proj_kw, projection_kw (dict, list of dict, or dict of dicts, optional) – Keyword arguments passed to Basemap or cartopy Projection classes on instantiation. If dictionary of properties, applies globally. If list of dictionaries or dictionary of dictionaries, these apply to specific subplots, as with proj. For example, plot.subplots(ncols=2, proj_kw={1: {'lon_0': 0}, 2: {'lon_0': 180}}) centers the projection in the left subplot on the prime meridian and in the right subplot on the international dateline.

  • basemap (bool, list of bool, or dict of bool, optional) – Passed to Proj, determines whether projection string names like 'pcarree' are used to create BasemapAxes or CartopyAxes. Default is False. If boolean, applies to all subplots. If list or dict, applies to specific subplots, as with proj.

  • journal (str, optional) – String name corresponding to an academic journal standard that is used to control the figure width and, if specified, the height. See the below table.


    Size description




    American Association for the Advancement of Science (e.g. Science)





    American Geophysical Union




    full height 1-column


    full height 2-column



    American Meteorological Society


    small 2-column


    medium 2-column


    full 2-column



    Nature Research





    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences




    landscape page

Other Parameters

**kwargs – Passed to Figure.