Technical Note: Watershed strategy for oceanic mesoscale eddy splitting
Ocean Science Discussions
To identify oceanic mononuclear mesoscale eddies, a threshold-free splitting method was developed based on the watershed. Because oceanic eddies are similar to plateaus and basins in the map of the sea level anomaly (SLA) data, the natural divisions of the basins are the watersheds between them. The splitting algorithm is based on identifying these watersheds by finding the path of steepest descent. Compared to previous splitting methods, the proposed splitting algorithm has some advantages.
... some advantages. First, there are no artificial parameters. Second, the algorithm is robust; the splitting strategy is independent of the algorithm and procedure and automatically guarantees that the split mononuclear eddies are simply-connected pixel sets. Third, the new method is very fast, and the time complexity is <i>O(N)</i>, where <i>N</i> is the number of multinuclear eddy pixels; each pixel is scanned only once for splitting, regardless of how many extremes there are. Fourth, the algorithm is independent of parameters; the strategy can potentially be applied to any possible physical parameters (e.g., SLA, geostrophic potential vorticity, Okubo–Weiss parameter, etc.). Besides, the present strategy can also be applied to automatic identification of troughs and ridges from weather charts. Because this general method can be applied to a variety of eddy parameter fields, we denoted it the Universal Splitting Technology for Circulations (USTC) method.