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Journal Articles Earth System Science Data Year : 2022

META3.1exp: a new global mesoscale eddy trajectory atlas derived from altimetry


This paper presents the new global Mesoscale Eddy Trajectory Atlases (META3.1exp DT all-satellites,, Pegliasco et al., 2021a; and META3.1exp DT two-satellites,, Pegliasco et al., 2021b), composed of eddy identifications and trajectories produced with altimetric maps. The detection method used is inherited from the py-eddy-tracker (PET) algorithm developed by Mason et al. (2014), and is optimized to efficiently manage large datasets, and thus long time series. These products are an improvement on the earlier META2.0 product, which was produced by SSALTO/DUACS and distributed by AVISO+ (, last access: 8 March 2022) with support from CNES, in collaboration with Oregon State University and support from NASA, and based on the Chelton et al. (2011) code. META3.1exp provides supplementary eddy information, such as eddy shapes, eddy edges, maximum speed contours, and mean eddy speed profiles from the center to the periphery. The tracking algorithm is based on overlapping contours, includes virtual observations, and acts as a filter with respect to the shortest trajectories. The absolute dynamic topography (ADT) field is now used for eddy detection, instead of the previous sea level anomaly (SLA) maps, in order to better represent the dynamics in the more energetic oceanic regions and in the vicinity of coasts and islands.

To evaluate the impact of the changes from META2.0 to META3.1exp, a comparison methodology has been applied. The similarity coefficient (SC) is based on the ratio of the eddy overlaps to their cumulative area, and allows for extensive comparison of the different datasets in terms of geographic distribution, statistics on the main physical characteristics, changes in the lifetimes of the trajectories, etc. After evaluating the impact of each change separately, we conclude that the major differences between META3.1exp and META2.0 are due to the change in the detection algorithm. META3.1exp contains smaller eddies and trajectories lasting at least 10 d; these were not available in the META2.0 product. Nevertheless, 55 % of the structures in META2.0 are similar to META3.1exp, thereby ensuring continuity between the two products and their physical characteristics. Geographically, the eddy distributions differ mainly in the strong current regions, where the mean dynamic topography (MDT) gradients are sharp. The additional information on the eddy contours allows for more accurate collocation of mesoscale structures with data from other sources, and so META3.1exp is recommended for multi-disciplinary application.

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insu-03671380 , version 1 (18-05-2022)





Cori Pegliasco, Antoine Delepoulle, Evan Mason, Rosemary Morrow, Yannice Faugère, et al.. META3.1exp: a new global mesoscale eddy trajectory atlas derived from altimetry. Earth System Science Data, 2022, 14, pp.1087-1107. ⟨10.5194/essd-14-1087-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03671380⟩
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