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 code repositories such as Python Package Index (PyPI), _Conda and Conda Forge. Unlike commerical numerical computing environments like Matlab and IDL, Python is free for everyone to use. In addition, Python code can be run on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, and OS X.

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

Installing Python

There are several ways of installing Python on your machine. You can install compiled binaries directly from the Python website, or one can install via a package manager such as Anaconda or Miniconda. I personally find the Anaconda or Miniconda route to be simplest.


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

Downloading the ecco_v4_py Python Package

The ecco_v4_py package is a library of routines that are helpful for analyzing the ECCO the Version 4 state estimate. The latest version can always be found on our github repository

Below are three options or installing the ecco_v4_py Python package.


Use only one of the options below!

Installing Required Python Packages

The following additional packages must be installed

- aiohttp
- codecov
- cartopy>=0.18.0
- cmocean
- dask
- docrep
- fsspec
- future
- geos
- matplotlib
- netcdf4
- numpy
- pathlib
- proj
- pytest
- python=3.8
- pytest-cov
- pyresample
- scipy
- xarray
- xgcm>=0.5.0
- xmitgcm>=0.5.1

Below are several 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.

To simply install all required dependencies using conda, create a new conda environment using the ECCOv4-py environment YAML.

cd your_ECCOv4_py_directory/
conda env create --name ECCOv4_py --file ci/environment-py38.yml

To activate the conda environment with the required dependencies call:

conda activate ECCOv4_py

Alternatively, one can install the dependencies one at a time into an existing conda environment:

conda activate yourExistingCondaEnvironment

conda install -c conda-forge aiohttp
conda install -c conda-forge codecov
conda install -c conda-forge cartopy
conda install -c conda-forge cmocean
conda install -c conda-forge dask
conda install -c conda-forge docrep
conda install -c conda-forge fsspec
conda install -c conda-forge future
conda install -c conda-forge geos
conda install -c conda-forge matplotlib
conda install -c conda-forge netcdf4
conda install -c conda-forge numpy
conda install -c conda-forge pathlib
conda install -c conda-forge proj
conda install -c conda-forge pytest
conda install -c conda-forge pytest-cov
conda install -c conda-forge pyresample
conda install -c conda-forge scipy
conda install -c conda-forge xarray
conda install -c conda-forge xgcm
conda install -c conda-forge xmitgcm

Using the ecco_v4_py in 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 you installed the package using pip 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