This standard describes many attributes (some mandatory, others optional), but a file may also contain non-standard attributes. Such attributes do not represent a violation of this standard. Application programs should ignore attributes that they do not recognise or which are irrelevant for their purposes. Conventional attribute names should be used wherever applicable. Non-standard names should be as meaningful as possible. Before introducing an attribute, consideration should be given to whether the information would be better represented as a variable. In general, if a proposed attribute requires ancillary data to describe it, is multidimensional, requires any of the defined netCDF dimensions to index its values, or requires a significant amount of storage, a variable should be used instead. When this standard defines string attributes that may take various prescribed values, the possible values are generally given in lower case. However, applications programs should not be sensitive to case in these attributes. Several string attributes are defined by this standard to contain "blank-separated lists". Consecutive words in such a list are separated by one or more adjacent spaces. The list may begin and end with any number of spaces. See Appendix A, Attributes for a list of attributes described by this standard.
We recommend that netCDF files that
follow these conventions indicate
this by setting the NUG defined global
to the string value
. The string is interpreted as a
directory name relative to a directory
that is a repository of documents
describing sets of discipline-specific
conventions. The conventions directory
name is currently interpreted relative to
on the host machine
web based versions of this
document are linked from the
netCDF Conventions web page
The following attributes are intended to provide information about where the data came from and what has been done to it. This information is mainly for the benefit of human readers. The attribute values are all character strings. For readability in ncdump outputs it is recommended to embed newline characters into long strings to break them into lines. For backwards compatibility with COARDS none of these global attributes is required.
The NUG defines
to be global attributes. We wish to
allow the newly defined attributes,
comment, to be either global or
assigned to individual variables. When
an attribute appears both globally and
as a variable attribute, the variable's
version has precedence.
A succinct description of what is in the dataset.
Specifies where the original data was produced.
The method of production of the original data. If it was model-generated,
should name the model and
its version, as specifically as
could be useful. If it
should characterize it (e.g., "
surface observation" or "
Provides an audit trail for modifications to the original data. Well-behaved generic netCDF filters will automatically append their name and the parameters with which they were invoked to the global history attribute of an input netCDF file. We recommend that each line begin with a timestamp indicating the date and time of day that the program was executed.
Published or web-based references that describe the data or methods used to produce it.
Miscellaneous information about the data or methods used to produce it.