The long_name attribute is defined by the NUG to contain a long descriptive name which may, for example, be used for labeling plots. For backwards compatibility with COARDS this attribute is optional. But it is highly recommended that either this or the standard_name attribute defined in the next section be provided to make the file self-describing. If a variable has no long_name attribute then an application may use, as a default, the standard_name if it exists, or the variable name itself.