[CF-metadata] what standard names are for

Craig Donlon craig.donlon at gmail.com
Sat Apr 12 06:38:48 MDT 2008

Hi Jonathan:
Thanbs for the reply and just to say thanks for the help and discussion
regarding the SST names.  Sorry for moaning somewhat, and for singling you
out in my previous mail - It was just that you had posted the last mail on
the SST thread regarding foundation/diurnal which had me wondering where we
were at.  I like the discussios but at the same time, I need to defend the
community I represent!  I triewd to send this mail immediately after the
first but gmail packed up on me...

So I meant no personal dig at you and without you we would be in a real
mess!  Keep up the good work.


2008/4/12 Jonathan Gregory <j.m.gregory at reading.ac.uk>:

> Dear Craig
> Yes, I've already said that I agree that your list
> >      surface_temperature (already defined)
> >      sea_water_temperature (for temperatures at depth)
> >      sea_surface_skin_temperature
> >      sea_surface_subskin_temperature
> >      sea_surface_foundation_temperature
> is in the end the best solution we can agree on, although it comes full
> circle,
> as you said.
> I am sorry that I subsequently confused this or it got lost by reusing
> this
> example in the wider debate on what standard names are for, because it's a
> good example. The discussion is important but does not solve any immediate
> problem, so we should go with what you have proposed.
> I am going to make further comments now, but that doesn't mean I am
> arguing
> against the above!
> You are quite right that to serve the community better CF should make its
> decisions faster. This is a long-standing problem, which partly comes from
> the
> fact that despite its growing importance, and the fact that it is used by
> many
> projects (like yours) to which large resources are committed, CF itself
> still
> has very little dedicated staff effort. It is a common resource which
> benefits
> many institutions but is paid for by hardly anyone. (That's an even wider
> issue
> than standard names in general, so doesn't really belong in this thread!)
> I tried to explain in an earlier posting why I think standard names are
> partly
> definitions, and why that means they are not just "names". It is because
> the
> community the data serves is often broader than the one which produces the
> data. What is understood in a smaller community is often not so clear to a
> larger community. That doesn't imply any disrespect to the authority or
> the
> expertise of the smaller community. I understand that people may feel
> indignant
> if they think someone else is claiming to describe their data better than
> they
> can themselves, but that is not the intention. When I have questioned
> standard
> name proposals, the question is often, "What does that mean?", and then I
> have
> often made suggestions that the standard name adopted should have elements
> of
> the *answer* to the question, so that other users will not have to ask.
> They
> can just look at the metadata and know what the data is. As a data
> analyst, I
> think this is very important. I don't want to have to spend a lot of time
> hunting down definitions and documentation to decide which of the
> quantities in
> a dataset is the one I want to use. I hope that seems reasonable to you.
> Thank you for persisting with CF.
> Best wishes
> Jonathan

Dr Craig Donlon
Director of the International GODAE SST Pilot Project Office
Met Office Hadley Centre,
Fitzroy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1392 886622 Mob:07920 235750
Fax:+44 (0)1392 885681
Skype ID:crazit
SkypeIn: +44 0141 416 0882
E-mail: craig.donlon at gmail.com
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