[CF-metadata] Standard name and area type tables - February update

alison.pamment at stfc.ac.uk alison.pamment at stfc.ac.uk
Wed Feb 22 06:22:38 MST 2017

Dear All,

The standard name and area type tables have both been updated. The standard name table is now at version 41 and the area type table is at version 6, both dated 22 February 2017. The changes to both tables have also been published in the NERC Vocabulary Server. The changes are listed in full at the end of this message.

Daniel Neumann and Henry Odbert have been added to the list of contributors to CF standard names: http://cfconventions.org/Data/cf-standard-names/docs/standard-name-contributors.html.

The next update to standard names is planned for 21st March 2017.

Best wishes,


V41 standard name changes

1. New names

a. Proposed by Sophie Nowicki for the CMIP6 ISMIP6 experiment:


b. Geostrophic velocity names proposed by Elodie Fernandez:


c. Direct shortwave names proposed by Henry Odbert:


d. Nitrogen deposition names proposed by Daniel Neumann:


2. Aliases

One new alias was created to replace 'floating_ice_sheet' with 'floating_ice_shelf' in a name recently introduced for ISMIP6.
floating_ice_sheet_area_fraction -> floating_ice_shelf_area_fraction      

3. Modifications to definitions of existing names

a. X_area names:

Following the discussion and acceptance of a number of new X_area names for ISMIP6, the definitions of the four existing area names were modified.

All the definitions already contained the sentence: ' "X_area" means the horizontal area occupied by X within the grid cell.' To clarify how the 'grid cell' should be described in metadata, the following sentence was added to the definitions: 'The extent of an individual grid cell is defined by the horizontal coordinates and any associated coordinate bounds or by a string valued auxiliary coordinate variable with a standard name of "region".'

b. Geostrophic names:

Following the discussion and acceptance of two new geostrophic velocity names, the definition of 'geostrophic' was extended by adding the words 'i.e. that the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis force are balanced and the large scale fluid flow is parallel to the isobars' to the existing sentence '"Geostrophic" indicates that geostrophic balance is assumed.'



V6 area type changes

Modifications to the definitions of existing area types

a. Area types for the LUMIP experiment

The definitions of two recently introduced area types were modified after further discussion with the LUMIP team. The definitions are now as follows:
'"Primary and secondary land" is land that is not in use as cropland or pastureland, including forests, grasslands, bare ground and vegetated wetlands. "Primary land" is land that has not undergone lulcc (land use or land cover change) due to human disturbance . "Secondary land" is land that has previously been used for agriculture, urban development or logging and has subsequently been abandoned. Reference: Hurtt et al. (2011), Climatic Change, 109 - 117, Harmonization of land-use scenarios for the period 1500-2100: 600 years of global gridded annual land-use transitions, wood harvest, and resulting secondary lands, doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0153-2. "Primary and secondary land" refers to land use or management, rather than to specific categories of vegetation cover, e.g. the primary and secondary succession of plant species.'

'Urban land is comprised of areas where much of the land is covered by structures. Included in this category are cities, towns and villages. Reference: Anderson, J.R, E. E. Hardy, J. T. Roach and R. E. Witmer (1976), A Land Use And Land Cover Classification System For Use With Remote Sensor Data, Appendix C Land Use Defintions, Geological Survey Professional Paper 964, A revision of the land use classification system as presented in U.S. Geological Survey Circular 671, https://www.usbr.gov/lc/socal/reports/SMappend_C.pdf.'

b. Land ice
Previously the land_ice area type was not defined. Following recent discussions of land ice standard names and area types for the ISMIP6 project I have now added a brief definition:
'"Land ice" means glaciers, ice-caps, grounded ice sheets resting on bedrock and floating ice-shelves.'


Alison Pamment                                                       Tel: +44 1235 778065
Centre for Environmental Data Analysis         Email: alison.pamment at stfc.ac.uk
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory     
R25, 2.22
Harwell Campus, Didcot, OX11 0QX, U.K.

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