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Parcels (Probably A Really Computationally Efficient Lagrangian Simulator) is a set of Python classes and methods to create customisable particle tracking simulations using output from Ocean Circulation models. Parcels can be used to track passive and active particulates such as water, plankton, plastic and fish.


Animation of virtual particles carried by ocean surface flow in the global oceans. The particles are advected with Parcels in data from the NEMO Ocean Model.

Parcels manuscript and code

The manuscript detailing the first release of Parcels, version 0.9, has been published in Geoscientific Model Development and can be cited as

Lange, M and E van Sebille (2017) Parcels v0.9: prototyping a Lagrangian Ocean Analysis framework for the petascale age. Geoscientific Model Development, 10, 4175-4186.

The manuscript detailing version 2.0 of Parcels is available at Geoscientific Model Development and can be cited as:

Delandmeter, P and E van Sebille (2019) The Parcels v2.0 Lagrangian framework: new field interpolation schemes. Geoscientific Model Development, 12, 3571-3584.

The manuscript detailing the performance of Parcels v2.4 is available at Computers & Geosciences and can be cited as:

Kehl, C, PD Nooteboom, MLA Kaandorp and E van Sebille (2023) Efficiently simulating Lagrangian particles in large-scale ocean flows — Data structures and their impact on geophysical applications, Computers and Geosciences, 175, 105322.

Further information

See for further information about installing and running the Parcels code, as well as extended documentation of the methods and classes.

Launch Parcels Tutorials on

Binder unit-tests codecov Anaconda-release Anaconda-date Zenodo CII Best Practices