[CF-metadata] Clarifying standard names for 'mass_concentration_of_*_dry_aerosol_particles'

Daniel Neumann daniel.neumann at io-warnemuende.de
Tue Jul 11 13:05:13 MDT 2017

Dear CF-Meta Mailinglist,

I would like to advertise my long question from two weeks ago. Maybe 
there were no replies because it was to long :-) . Excuse me if I should 
be wrong with that assumption. The basic questions are:

What do these two standard names mean?
   (a) mass_concentration_of_ammonium_dry_aerosol_particles_in_air

What should be the standard name for the mass concentration of 
atmospheric particulate chloride/ammonium/nitrate/sulfate/...? Should it 
be like (a), like (b) or something else (e.g. 

Please find details on the question here:


On 27.06.2017 14:43, Daniel Neumann wrote:
> Dear CF-Mailinglist,
> in a recent proposal (link given below*), Alison and I discussed about 
> the naming conventions for the mass of specific aerosol particle 
> components. There seems to be clarification necessary in the 
> descriptions and/or names.
> [* recent proposal with discussion: 
> http://mailman.cgd.ucar.edu/pipermail/cf-metadata/2017/059522.html, 
> look for "10. 
> mass_concentration_of_chloride_dry_aerosol_particles_in_air (kg m-3)"]
> Currently, there exist standard names like
> > mass_concentration_of_ammonium_dry_aerosol_particles_in_air
> > mass_concentration_of_dust_dry_aerosol_particles_in_air
> > general form: mass_concentration_of_X_dry_aerosol_particles_in_air
> which describe mass concentration of aerosol particles that contain 
> species X. Thus, this standard name describes not only the mass of 
> species X but also the mass of other species that are associated with 
> X on particles. In the past, I thought it would describe the mass of 
> species X only. We think that there is a need for clarifying this in 
> the description of these standard names.
> When we now want to quantify the mass of particulate X only (e.g. mass 
> of particulate chloride, mass of particulate ammonium), we could use 
> the standard name
> > mass_concentration_of_dry_aerosol_particles_expressed_as_X_in_air
> However, I see two problems with respect to this naming convention. 
> First, we get a not-nice name if we want to express the mass 
> concentrations of particulate ammonium in terms of nitrogen. We needed 
> a standard name like
> > 
> mass_concentration_of_dry_aerosol_particles_expressed_as_ammonium_expressed_as_nitrogen_in_air
> which contains 'expressed' twice.
> Second (but that is my personal feeling only), I use the 
> "X_expressed_as_Y" formulation only, when there is some relation from 
> Y to X. Or in other words: when Y is a reasonable measure for X.
> > ...organic_matter_..._expressed_as_carbon...
> > ...nox_expressed_as_nitrogen...
> > ...phytoplankton_expressed_as_phosphorus...
> Therefore, 
> "mass_concentration_of_dry_aerosol_particles_expressed_as_X_in_air" is 
> not a good choice for a standard name describing the mass of 
> particulate X in my opinion.
> An alternative would be to introduce a standard name like
> > mass_concentrations_of_particulate_X_in_air
> > mass_concentrations_of_particulate_ammonium_in_air
> > mass_concentrations_of_particulate_chloride_in_air
> What is your opinion on this topic?
> Best Regards,
> Daniel

Daniel Neumann

Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende
Physical Oceanography and Instrumentation
Seestrasse 15
18119 Rostock

phone:  +49-381-5197-287
fax:    +49-381-5197-114 or 440
e-mail: daniel.neumann at io-warnemuende.de

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