Estimating the Circulation & Climate of the Ocean
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ECCO was established in 1998 as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) with the goal of combining a general circulation model (GCM) with diverse observations in order to produce a quantitative depiction of the time-evolving global ocean state. The importance of such an endeavor is recognized by numerous national and international organizations, such as the WMO's World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Comission (IOC). These programs have all noted the necessity of synthesizing the diverse remotely-sensed and in-situ observations with known dynamics and thermodynamics through a GCM. ECCO products are in support of the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) programme and the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE).


ECCO products as well as input fields and quality-controlled observations are freely available from several data servers through various applications (including DODS/OPeNDAP, LAS, GDS, Dapper, SRB, Ingrid).
A summary of available ECCO products and data servers can be found here.

The ECCO code is based on the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm), a numerical model designed for study of the atmosphere, ocean, and climate. It comes with a variety of packages including physical parameterizations, a sea-ice model, biochemical components, and allows flexible porting across various HPC platforms.
For more details on the MITgcm click here.
Since the mid-1990's, groups at MIT, SIO, JPL and GFDL have applied automatic/algorithmic differentiation (AD) tools for generating tangent linear and adjoint code for ocean circulation and climate studies. ECCO relies heavily on the AD tool TAMC and its commecial successor TAF. The ECCO group is also involved in the development of a new open-source AD tool OpenAD.
More details can be found here.

February 2014: Announcing a new-generation, global, bi-decadal state estimate: ECCO version 4

Following the ECCO meeting in January at MIT, the JPL/MIT/AER ECCO-Production team is happy to announce the release of a new-generation, global, bi-decadal state estimate (ECCO-Production, release 1). The product covers the period 1992 to 2011.

Several aspects of this new product have been highlighted already during the ECCO meeting. To re-iterate, some of the features include a fully global grid (LLC90) with the inclusion of the Arctic Ocean, telescoping from 1 to 1/3 deg. in the tropics, a doubling in vertical resolution (from 23 to 50 levels), forcing with the ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalysis, and improved treatment of data sets in terms of resolved vs. unresolved scales. The state estimate is being made available on its native grid on the DODS/OPeNDAP server

The sub-directory ancillary_data/ has some extra information, including our standard analysis (standardAnalysis.pdf) that documents model-data misfits and physical variables of general interest. A copy of the matlab codes used to generate the standard analysis is also provided (gcmfaces_MITprof_r1.tar). As with releases of previous estimates, we think that many aspects of this release are mature (and improvements from previous versions), but with further improvements of some aspects to be expected in subsequent releases.

Gael Forget has played a leading role in developing ECCO v4 and producing the released estimate. A more detailed paper describing the design of ECCO v4, and the solution is in preparation for GMD: Forget, G., P. Heimbach, J.-M. Campin, C. Hill, R. Giering R. Ponte, I. Fukumori, T. Lee, and C. Wunsch: ECCO version 4: A global ocean modeling and state estimation framework.

Please send comments/questions or report issues to

The ECCO-Production team

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Estimating the Circulation & Climate of the Ocean