[CF-metadata] Questions about correct standard_name

Jim Biard jbiard at cicsnc.org
Mon Dec 18 08:10:11 MST 2017


Standard names are a controlled vocabulary. You can find a searchable 
list of standard names at




I did a cursory search and did not find any names that exactly match 
your quantities, but I may be mistaken. If there are none, then you are 
welcome to propose new names to be added to the list. You do this by 
sending an email to this list with proposed standard names and their 
definitions, including canonical units. The community will respond, 
helping you to get the names and definitions into acceptable form. Once 
there is general agreement, they will be added to the standard names list.

It's also true that a variable is not required to have a standard name 
in order to be CF-compliant. It is a good and helpful thing, and I 
encourage you to take the time to create ones where needed, but it is OK 
(as far as CF is concerned) to have a variable with no standard name.

Grace and peace,


On 12/18/17 8:36 AM, SCHERLLIN-PIRSCHER Barbara wrote:
> Dear all,
> I’d like to ask some questions about appropriate standard names of 
> some variables:
> I’m looking for the standard name of mean concentration of volcanic 
> ash at specific altitude levels.
> I used
> mass_concentration_of_ash_in_air
> but the CF convention checker realizes that this is an invalid 
> standard_name.
> Unfortunately, I did not find a valid standard name yet. Do you have 
> any recommendations?
> Furthermore, I’m looking for some standard names for variables related 
> to radioactivity.
> I used
> deposited_activity_concentration (in Bq/m2).
> and
> time_integrated_activity_concentration_in_air (Bq s/m3).
> The first variable contains information about the deposited activity 
> concentration that depends on the type of the nuclide, time, latitude, 
> and longitude.
> The second variable contains information about the time-integrated 
> activity concentration of different radionuclides at specific levels. 
> It’s dimensions are type of the nuclide, time, height, latitude, and 
> longitude.
> Do you have any recommendation concerning the standard names of these 
> variables?
> Finally, I need to define a variable that contains the information 
> about the radioactive nuclide itself. I defined a character variable 
> that uses the (invalid) standard name:
> radioactive_nuclides
> Do you also have advice for the standard name of this variable?
> Thanks a lot for your help!
> Best regards,
>    Barbara
> Dr. Barbara Scherllin-Pirscher
> Fachabteilung Chemische Wettervorhersage/Section Chemical Weather 
> Forecasts
> Bereich Daten, Methoden, Modelle/Division Data, Methods, Models
> ZAMG - Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik
> A-1190 Wien, Hohe Warte 38
> Tel.: +43 1 36026 2380
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> E-Mail: barbara.scherllin-pirscher at zamg.ac.at 
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