Characterising global ocean mesoscale eddy by AVISO and Haiyang-2 altimeter

Tao Jiang, Weizeng Shao, Qingping Zou, Yongjun Jia, Xingwei Jiang

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This work compares the Haiyang-2 (HY-2) altimeter data with the well-recognized satellite oceanographic data (AVISO) product in the global ocean in their capability of detecting mesoscale eddy. A well-established method to detect mesoscale eddies from HY-2 and AVISO was applied to the sea level anomaly (SLA) data on a global scale in 2021−2022. It is found that the number of mesoscale eddies derived from the HY-2 dataset is three times more than that from the AVISO dataset and with larger eddy kinetic energy (EKE), shorter lifespan and smaller amplitude. Besides, the monthly-averaged number of generated and terminated mesoscale eddies is similar and the temporal variation of SLA exhibits strong lunar oscillation for both datasets. Most mesoscale eddies are generated in the mid-latitude oceans due to the Coriolis force and the strong El Niño. In the western boundary of the global ocean, equator, Antarctic Ocean and other areas with strong currents, the mesoscale eddies have stronger SLA amplitudes, EKEs and vorticity. Furthermore, EKE is low at the centre and high at the eddy meander. The spatial distribution characteristics of vorticity are the same as those of EKEs in the western boundary of oceans, but the vorticity value of HY-2 data near the equator is larger than that of AVISO data. However, considering the large detection error of eddy near the equator, no further exploration will be conducted in this paper. Furthermore, mesoscale eddies tend to move in the east–west direction due to Coriolis force and wind (Ekman transport) effects and large-scale ocean circulation or the pathway of drifters also have a certain impact. Overall, similar to AVISO data, the HY-2 data is also reliable for mesoscale identification in global oceans.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2347450
JournalInternational Journal of Digital Earth
Issue number1
Early online date2 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2024


  • Mesoscale eddy
  • global ocean
  • sea level anomalies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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