12 Dec 2022
12 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A global Lagrangian eddy dataset based on satellite altimetry

Tongya Liu1,2 and Ryan Abernathey3 Tongya Liu and Ryan Abernathey
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics, Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Hangzhou, China
  • 2Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai, China
  • 3Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract. The methods used to identify coherent ocean eddies are either Eulerian or Lagrangian in nature, and nearly all existing eddy dataset are based on the Eulerian method. In this study, millions of Lagrangian particles are advected by satellite-derived surface geostrophic velocities over the period of 1993–2019. Using the method of Lagrangian-averaged vorticity deviation (LAVD), we present a global Lagrangian eddy dataset (GLED v1.0, Liu and Abernathey, 2022, This open-source dataset contains not only the general features (eddy center position, equivalent radius, rotation property, etc.) of eddies with lifetimes of 30, 90, and 180 days but also the trajectories of particles trapped by coherent eddies over the lifetime. We present the statistical features of Lagrangian eddies and compare them with those of the most widely used sea surface height (SSH) eddies, focusing on generation sites, size, and propagation speed. A remarkable feature is that Lagrangian eddies is generally smaller than SSH eddies, with a radius ratio of about 0.5. Also, the estimated mass transport by Lagrangian eddies is nearly an order of magnitude smaller than that by the Eulerian calculation, indicating that the coherent contribution to the total eddy transport is very limited. Our eddy dataset provides an additional option for oceanographers to understand the interaction between coherent eddies and other physical or biochemical processes in the Earth system.

Tongya Liu and Ryan Abernathey

Status: open (until 06 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-411', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Dec 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-411', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Jan 2023 reply

Tongya Liu and Ryan Abernathey

Data sets

A global Lagrangian eddy dataset based on satellite altimetry (GLED v1.0) Liu, Tongya, & Abernathey, Ryan

Tongya Liu and Ryan Abernathey


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Short summary
Nearly all existing dataset of mesoscale eddies are based on the Eulerian method because of its operational simplicity. Using satellite observations and a Lagrangian method, we present a global Lagrangian eddy dataset (GLED v1.0). We conduct the statistical comparison between two types of eddies and find that the material transport induced by eddy trapping is very limited. Our dataset offers relief from dilemma that Eulerian eddy dataset is nearly the only option for studying mesoscale eddies.