[CF-metadata] Another potentially useful extension to the standard_name table

Jonathan Gregory j.m.gregory at reading.ac.uk
Mon Sep 24 10:53:48 MDT 2012

Dear Martin, Roy et al.

> I understand exactly what you want - or at least I thing I do.  I think that you would like to enter a URL representing the concept 'carbon monoxide' and get back a document giving you all the Standard Names pertaining to carbon monoxide.  Am I right?

I appreciate that this need is not the same one as a system for proposing
new standard names, on which I agree with the way Philip described it. But
couldn't both needs be served by a generating grammar? If we have a complete
grammar of standard_names, then we can record in the standard_name table how
each one is generated from phrases, as well as the final result. Although you
cannot always parse a standard_name unambiguously, you could look up what the
correct decomposition was, or search the table for the occurrence of a
particular species or other phrase in the decompositions.

Later we could take a step further by recognising that some names are
irregular and giving their decomposition in regular terms. Thus, for instance,
specific_humidity could be recognised as composed of the semantic elements
which would normally yield mass_fraction_of_water_vapor_in_air (which does not
occur in fact). This is somewhat like Martin's idea of aliases for irregular
names. It is like recognising that "went" = go + -ed. Of course, there is
plenty of linguistic theory about this kind of thing! My grammar does not
currently have such transformational rules.

Best wishes


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