[CF-metadata] species as species in chemical and aerosol names - "mercury"

Steve Hankin Steven.C.Hankin at noaa.gov
Tue Nov 14 11:31:59 MST 2006


Hi Roy,

You've raised a question below that seems to merit further 
conversation.  Has there been a systematic discussion of the trade-offs 
regarding name length?  While long names may add clarity in many cases 
for purposes of data discovery and for simple interactions with the 
data, they are a nuisance impediment to clarity when one starts to 
perform analysis on the data.  For example, even a simple ratio of two 
variables becomes a confusing jumble of characters if the combined 
expression is 800 characters long.  Very long names can make it 
difficult for a human to scan a long list of names, too.

You mention the use of a 50-byte-max abbreviation/alias.  Is such an 
abbreviation required whenever the variable name length exceeds some 
threshold?  If not, then should it be required?  (In the case of a CF 
file, this discussion may be framed a little differently.  As long as 
the 400-character name is the "standard_name", then an abbreviation 
becomes implicit as the name of the variable, itself.  Maybe some 
good-practice style guidelines are in order ...)

    - Steve

==============================================

Roy Lowry wrote:
> Hi Christiane,
>
> In my experience attempts at brevity when describing complexity results in misunderstandings. Your example:
>
> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_particulate_organic_matter_dry_aerosol 
> _expressed_as_mass_of_particulate_organic_matter
>
> appeals to me because I instantly feel I have an understanding of the parameter that is being described, whereas with more compact syntax I find myself asking the 'What is meant by....?' question.  I currently work with a 400-byte limit on full parameter discriptions accompanied by a 50-byte abbreviation.  The abbreviation is only used in situations where there is an inflexible limit on display space and wherever possible techniques such as hover text are used to provide access to the full name.
>
> Cheers, Roy.
>
>   
>>>> christiane.textor at gmx.de 11/14/2006 7:16 am >>>
>>>>         
> Hi all,
>
> Here is an explanation how the name was constructed: 
> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_mercury_expressed_as_mercury_dry_aerosol
>
> substance (mercury_dry_aerosol)
> process (surface dry deposition mass flux)
> measure of mass (expressed as such, or expressed as mercury)
>
>  > surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_mercury_via_dry_aerosol ?
>
> 'via' is not applicable here, because it refers to the deposition 
> pathway, not to the substance.
>
>
>  > replacing 'dry_aerosol' by 'in_dry_aerosol_phase' make the meaning 
> clearer?
>
> This suggests, that the component of interest (here mercury) is only a 
> minor species within the total aerosol mass. This might apply to mercury 
> but not to other species, e.g. sulfate. Therefore I would like to keep 
> the name as it is.
>
>  > mercury_dry_aerosol_expressed_as_such
>
> I like this suggestion, but from the HTAP exercise I realize that there 
> are still problems with the expression 'as_such'. I think it should 
> rather be expressed_as_mass_of_mercury
>
> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_mercury_dry_aerosol_expressed_as_mass_of_mercury
>
> another expample
> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_all_nitrogen_oxides_expressed_as_mass_of_nitrogen
>
> this can lead to very long names, e.g.
> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_particulate_organic_matter_dry_aerosol 
> _expressed_as_mass_of_particulate_organic_matter
>
> but is very clear. What do you think?
>
> Christiane
>
>
>   
>> yours,
>> Ian
>>
>> Roy Lowry wrote:
>>     
>>> Might replacing 'dry_aerosol' by 'in_dry_aerosol_phase' make the meaning clearer?
>>>
>>> Roy.
>>>
>>>   
>>>       
>>>>>> Jonathan Gregory <j.m.gregory at reading.ac.uk> 11/11/2006 2:21 pm >>>
>>>>>>         
>>>>>>             
>>> Dear Christiane
>>>
>>>   
>>>       
>>>>> If I am interpreting the term "expressed_as" correctly, maybe this
>>>>> should be:
>>>>> surface_dry_deposition_mass_flux_of_mercury_dry_aerosol_expressed_as_mercury
>>>>>       
>>>>>           
>>>> when I wrote 
>>>> mercury_expressed_as_such_dry_aerosol I was referring to the total 
>>>> aerosol mass, not only the mercury contained in it. Is this unclear? 
>>>>     
>>>>         
>>> Yes, I find "expressed_as_such_dry_aerosol" to be unclear. Now I understand
>>> what you mean, though. But could you not just say
>>> mercury_dry_aerosol_expressed_as_such?
>>> I suppose that "mercury dry aerosol" is the name of a substance, and then
>>> "expressed_as_such" is saying that you are measuring the mass of that
>>> substance, which contrasts with "expressed_as_mercury", when you are measuring
>>> the mass of mercury it contains.
>>>
>>> I wonder if that makes sense to other people.
>>>
>>> Best wishes
>>>
>>> Jonathan
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> CF-metadata mailing list
>>> CF-metadata at cgd.ucar.edu 
>>> http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/mailman/listinfo/cf-metadata 
>>>
>>>
>>>   
>>>       
>
>
>   

-- 
--

Steve Hankin, NOAA/PMEL -- Steven.C.Hankin at noaa.gov
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-0070
ph. (206) 526-6080, FAX (206) 526-6744

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