4.2. Longitude Coordinate

Variables representing longitude must always explicitly include the units attribute; there is no default value. The units attribute will be a string formatted as per the udunits.dat file. The recommended unit of longitude is degrees_east. Also acceptable are degree_east, degree_E, degrees_E, degreeE, and degreesE.

Example 4.2. Longitude axis

float lon(lon) ;
  lon:long_name = "longitude" ;
  lon:units = "degrees_east" ;
  lon:standard_name = "longitude" ;

Application writers should note that the Udunits package has limited recognition of the directionality implied by the "east" part of the unit specification. It defines degrees_east to be pi/180 radians, and hence equivalent to degrees_north. We recommend the determination that a coordinate is a longitude type should be done via a string match between the given unit and one of the acceptable forms of degrees_east.

Optionally, the longitude type may be indicated additionally by providing the standard_name attribute with the value longitude, and/or the axis attribute with the value X.

Coordinates of longitude with respect to a rotated pole should be given units of degrees, not degrees_east or equivalents, because applications which use the units to identify axes would have no means of distinguishing such an axis from real longitude, and might draw incorrect coastlines, for instance. It would also not generally be appropriate to attach an axis attribute to a rotated-longitude coordinate variable. Such a variable can be identified by a standard_name of grid_longitude.