When a variable has an associated coordinate which is
single-valued, that coordinate may be represented as a
scalar variable. Since there is no associated dimension
these scalar coordinate variables should be attached to
a data variable via the
Under COARDS the method of providing a single valued coordinate was to add a dimension of size one to the variable, and supply the corresponding coordinate variable. The new scalar coordinate variable is a convenience feature which avoids adding size one dimensions to variables. Scalar coordinate variables have the same information content and can be used in the same contexts as a size one coordinate variable. Note however that use of this feature with a latitude, longitude, vertical, or time coordinate will inhibit COARDS conforming applications from recognizing them.
Once a name is used for a scalar coordinate variable it can not be used for a 1D coordinate variable. For this reason we strongly recommend against using a name for a scalar coordinate variable that matches the name of any dimension in the file.
Example 5.8. Multiple forecasts from a single analysis
dimensions: lat = 180 ; lon = 360 ; time = UNLIMITED ; variables: double atime atime:standard_name = "forecast_reference_time" ; atime:units = "hours since 1999-01-01 00:00" ; double time(time); time:standard_name = "time" ; time:units = "hours since 1999-01-01 00:00" ; double lon(lon) ; lon:long_name = "station longitude"; lon:units = "degrees_east"; double lat(lat) ; lat:long_name = "station latitude" ; lat:units = "degrees_north" ; double p500 p500:long_name = "pressure" ; p500:units = "hPa" ; p500:positive = "down" ; float height(time,lat,lon); height:long_name = "geopotential height" ; height:standard_name = "geopotential_height" ; height:units = "m" ; height:coordinates = "atime p500" ; data: time = 6., 12., 18., 24. ; atime = 0. ; p500 = 500. ;
In this example both the analysis time and the single pressure level are represented using scalar coordinate variables. The analysis time is identified by the standard name "forecast_reference_time" while the valid time of the forecast is identified by the standard name "time".