[CF-metadata] A user has a set of variables they can't store: advice?

Jim Biard jbiard at cicsnc.org
Fri Sep 1 07:03:26 MDT 2017


CF is not, per se, restricted to netCDF, but it does have a lot of 
legacy that is connected to the netCDF way of doing things. There are a 
couple of attempts out there to use CF terms in JSON, for example. I'm 
unfamiliar with the Ames format, so I can't speak to how easy or hard it 
will be to use CF with that format.

As far as the other issues you mention are concerned, CF has ways to 
handle pretty much all of them. Level is not a problem, point data is 
not a problem, and variant units for a given standard name is not a 
problem. It is even just fine to have data without a standard name 
associated with it. If you find a quantity for which no standard name 
exists, you can compose a proposal for a new standard name (including a 
detailed definition with canonical units) and email it to the 
CF-Metadata  listserv. It will be discussed, and if the community agrees 
with them, they will be added to the standard_name database.

You guys will need to educate yourselves on CF and how it is used. Read 
the Conventions and supporting documents at


There are examples and templates that can be instructive. You can find 
some at these links:


Grace and peace,


On 8/31/17 6:23 PM, Cathy Smith wrote:
> Hi
> A user trying to use CF standard names sent me this list of variables 
> they were unable to find the names of. Note this is for observations 
> at a point. It is to be stored in NASA Ames format and not netCDF. In 
> some cases, the units was the issue (e.g. evap rate). In some cases, 
> the data was at a specific level (e.g. 10m wind speed) and it wasn't 
> clear how 'level' would be indicated in the Ames metadata.
> The 'level' issue may be part of another one: CF was designed for 
> gridded data but from a talk on the web, it is
> "Framed as a netCDF standard, but most CF ideas relate to metadata 
> design in general, hence can be contained in other formats such as XML"
> So, can the CF standard names really apply to point collected data not 
> in netCDF? And, can these all be considered as potential variables for 
> CF if they don't already exist?
> Here is the list.
> Bulk buoyancy flux into ocean (W m-2)
> Friction velocity that includes gustiness  (m s-1)    [aka ustar]
> Wind stress (N m-2)
> Temperature scaling parameter  (K)    [aka tstar]
> Specific humidity scaling parameter  (g kg-2)    [aka qstar]
> Thermal roughness length (m)
> Moisture roughness length (m)
> Wind stress transfer coefficient at zu  ()    [aka Cd]
> Sensible heat transfer coefficient at zu  ()    [aka Ch, Stanton number]
> Latent heat transfer coefficient at zu  ()    [aka Ce, Dalton number]
> Obukhov length scale L  (m)
> Monin-Obukhov stability parameter zu/L  ()
> wind_speed at 10 m (m s-1)
> air_temperature at 10 m (C)
> specific_humidity at 10 m (g kg-1)
> relative_humidity at 10 m (%)
> Neutral value of wind speed at zu (m s-1)
> Neutral value of wind speed at 10 m (m s-1)
> Neutral value of drag coefficient at 10 m ()
> Neutral value of Stanton number at 10 m ()
> Neutral value of Dalton number at 10 m ()
> Cool-skin temperature depression (C)
> Surface saturation specific humidity (g kg-1)
> Latent heat of vaporization (J kg-1)
> and maybe
> Evaporation rate (mm h-1)
> Thanks
> Cathy Smith
> -- 
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> http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/cathy.smith/
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