Python and Python Packages

Our Python tutorial is compatible with Python 3. It relies on several packages including ecco_v4-py which include codes to facilitate loading, plotting, and performing calculations on ECCOv4 state estimate fields.

Why Python?

Python is an easy to learn, open source programming language. In addition to the standard language library, there are thousands of free third-party modules (code libraries) available on the Python Package Index (PyPI). Unlike commerical numerical computing environments like Matlab and IDL, Python is free for everyone to use. In addition, Python code can be run on just any platform whether Windows, Linux, or OS X.

Here are some links to help you learn more about Python.

Installing Python and the Anaconda Distribution


The latest installers for Python for many platforms can be found on the Python website.


Python code can be written in any text editor and run from the command line. Third-party modules can be manually installed from the command line using the pip package manager.

Python code can also be written and executed in an interactive environment (integrated development environment, IDE) similar to the Matlab console. For scientific computing, the Anaconda Python distribution is quite convenient because it comes with a large collection of useful modules, a good open source IDE, Spyder., and the ability to open and execute Jupyter Notebooks

The latest installers for the Anaconda Distribution can be found on the Anaconda website

Installing Required Python Packages

After installing Anaconda the following packages must be installed: netcdf4, cartopy, pyresample, xarray, xmitgcm, xgcm

Below are two options or installing these packages. PICK ONE!

Option 1: Conda


Conda is recommended because it automatically installs the GEOS (Geometry Engine, Open Source) library which is needed to make projection plots.

conda install geos
conda install cmocean
conda install -c conda-forge pyresample
conda install -c conda-forge xarray dask netCDF4 bottleneck
conda install -c conda-forge xmitgcm
conda install -c conda-forge xgcm
conda install -c conda-forge cartopy

Downloading the ecco_v4_py Python Package

The ecco_v4_py package is a library of routines that are helpful for analyzing the ECCO v4 state estimate. It is stored on the github repository

Below are three options or installing the ecco_v4_py Python package.


Use only one of the options below!

Using the ecco_v4_py Python Package in your programs

If you use Options 1 or 2 to download the ecco_v4_py source code then you must tell Python the location of the files before Python can it. This is easy, you just you just have to remember to do it at the top of all of your programs!

Assuming you downloaded the ecco_v4_py routines to /home/username/ECCOv4-py then simply add these three lines to the top of your Python programs (or Jupyter Notebooks)

import sys
import ecco_v4_py as ecco

If you used Method 3 (pip install) then the ecco_v4_py library will be automatically installed and will be ready to import into your Python program via the following commands:

import ecco_v4_py as ecco