[CF-metadata] Standard name for land/sea mask

Jim Biard jbiard at cicsnc.org
Tue Jul 11 07:33:54 MDT 2017


Given the prior existence of land_binary_mask, Elodie's request for 
sea_binary_mask makes sense. Even given my request below, if Elodie 
needs this standard name, I endorse it's addition. I don't want to bog 
her down.

I'd like to suggest that we do something slightly more flexible and 
create the standard name discrete_mask, which could handle both these 
cases. It could also handle numerous other use cases that generally go 
without a standard name right now. The definition could be something 
like below.

    discrete_mask: A variable with the standard name discrete_mask is
    used to indicate a finite set of discrete, related conditions that
    hold across the dimensional range of the variable. These conditions
    are marked by integer values, each of which indicates a specific
    condition. The particular conditions being indicated are defined
    using flag_values and flag_meanings attributes associated with the
    variable. A single element of the variable can indicate only one
    condition - bit field combinations are not allowed.

I'm thinking this way because in the particular domain Elodie is 
referring to, some files have trinary masks, sea = 0, coast = 1, land = 
2, different ones define the numbers used to indicate the different 
conditions, some cover more cases (fresh water, for example), etc.

I do, on one level, appreciate that it can be nice to see the standard 
name on a variable and not need to look further to understand how the 
contents are implemented, but I don't think it buys us near as much as 
we like to think.

Grace and peace,


On 7/11/17 3:55 AM, Elodie Fernandez wrote:
> Dear all,
> I would like to suggest the addition of a new standard_name to 
> describe land-sea masks. A standard_name already exists: 
> land_binary_mask (
> X_binary_mask has 1 where condition X is met, 0 elsewhere. 1 = land, 0 
> = sea.). But in the ocean modelling community, we have already 
> existing files describing those masks, but from an "ocean point of 
> view", so 1 is for sea and 0 is for land points.
> So I would like to request the addition of the standard_name 
> "*sea_binary**_mask*",
> with definition "X_binary_mask has 1 where condition X is met, 0 
> elsewhere. 1 = sea, 0 = land" and unit "1".
> Best regards,
> Elodie
> _______________________________________________
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> CF-metadata at cgd.ucar.edu
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