IPyNB Cookbooks to Create CF-Compliant NetCDF Files

The IDV group recently received a request from a researcher to have the IDV display CF-compliant netCDF trajectory files. The IDV already has some limited capacity to handle these data. However, this particular request requires the IDV handle multiple trajectories in one CF-compliant file, which is currently not supported by the IDV. We would like to assist this researcher with these data by fully supporting CF trajectory netCDF data in the IDV.

As a step toward adding full support in the IDV, I created an IPython Notebook to generate some canned CF trajectory data. This format is a standard to store point data in netCDF format files, which many existing tools support and many organizations are adopting. I followed CF trajectory guidance provided by NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). Moreover the NODC site references the NetCDF Attribute Convention for Dataset Discovery to supplement the NetCDF file with attribute metadata that can be leveraged by netCDF-Java.

The objective here is to ensure the netCDF-Java API can handle these kinds of data. Early indications are that netCDF-Java handles these data correctly. In addition, these data will be used in IDV development to ensure correct display of the trajectory data. A side benefit of this effort is this IPython Notebook can serve as a template for geoscience data providers to generate, in this case, CF-compliant trajectory data. This template or “cookbook” can be found on github. It would be wonderful to expand this effort to include other Python notebook templates to generate CF-compliant netCDF files to assist geoscience data providers. Git and github technology excels in open-source collaborative development. We aspire in the future to add more cookbook examples and hopefully receive contributions from the open-source geoscience community. This project currently lives under my account (julienchastang), but if this project has any momentum, I aim to move it to the Unidata organizational account.

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