2.2. Data Types

The netCDF data types char, byte, short, int, float or real, and double are all acceptable. The char type is not intended for numeric data. One byte numeric data should be stored using the byte data type. All integer types are treated by the netCDF interface as signed. It is possible to treat the byte type as unsigned by using the NUG convention of indicating the unsigned range using the valid_min, valid_max, or valid_range attributes.

NetCDF does not support a character string type, so these must be represented as character arrays. In this document, a one dimensional array of character data is simply referred to as a "string". An n-dimensional array of strings must be implemented as a character array of dimension (n,max_string_length), with the last (most rapidly varying) dimension declared large enough to contain the longest string in the array. All the strings in a given array are therefore defined to be equal in length. For example, an array of strings containing the names of the months would be dimensioned (12,9) in order to accommodate "September", the month with the longest name.