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#104 fixed Clarify the interpretation of scalar coordinate variables davidhassell jonathan
Description

David Hassell and I propose the following changes to the CF standard document to clarify the interpretation of scalar coordinate variables. We do not think this is a material change to the convention, which already implies this interpretation, and we believe this interpretation is what was intended when scalar coordinate variables were introduced.

Section 5.7, Scalar coordinate variables.

The convention contains the following sentences:

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.

These sentences are OK as they stand, we think, but it would be better to describe the current situation without emphasising its history, so we would propose to replace them with the following. In addition, we propose to add a bit extra, as shown, to the second sentence below:

The use of scalar coordinate variables is a convenience feature which avoids adding size one dimensions to variables. A scalar coordinate variable has the same information content and can be used in the same contexts as a size one coordinate variable, if numeric, or a size one auxiliary coordinate variable, if a string (Section 6.1).

The next sentence would be unchanged; it mentions how this situation relates to that of the COARDS convention.

At the end of the section, after the example, we propose to append the following sentences:

If a data variable has two or more scalar coordinate variables, they are regarded as though they were all independent coordinate variables with dimensions of size one. If two or more single-valued coordinates are not independent, but have related values (for instance, time and forecast period, or vertical coordinate and model level number, Section 6.2), they should be stored as coordinate or auxiliary coordinate variables of the same size one dimension, not as scalar coordinate variables.

We think the above interpretation and implications are consistent with the convention already, which says in this section that, "Scalar coordinate variables have the same information content and can be used in the same contexts as a size one coordinate variable". However, it would be an improvement to spell it out.

Section 6.1, Labels

Replace the last sentence

If a character variable has only one dimension (the maximum length of the string), it is regarded as a string-valued scalar coordinate variable, analogous to a numeric scalar coordinate variable (see Section 5.7, Scalar Coordinate Variables).

with

If a character variable has only one dimension (the maximum length of the string), it is a string-valued scalar coordinate variable (see Section 5.7, Scalar Coordinate Variables). As such, it has the same information content and can be used in the same contexts as a string-valued auxiliary coordinate variable of a size one dimension. This is a convenience feature which avoids adding the size one dimension to the data variable.

The last part is a repetition of what Section 5.7 says. The reason for the change is that the existing wording is careless in implying that a string could be a coordinate variable; in fact, this is not possible, since string- value coordinates must be auxiliary coordinate variables.

The interpretation of scalar coordinate variables in Section 9 may be different from the above, and this may require further clarification if the above is agreed.

#109 fixed resolve inconsistency of positive and standard_name attributes davidhassell jonathan
Description

John Graybeal raised the question of what happens if the positive and standard_name attributes of a vertical coordinate variable are inconsistent according to the definition of the latter e.g. if positive="up" and standard_name="depth", which is defined as vertical distance below the surface, implying that positive is down. Steve Hankin and I discussed this on the CF email list and further by email and phone. We would like to propose the following clarification, which should answer the question without materially changing the convention or invalidating existing data.

Append the following to the last paragraph (beginning "Optionally") of introductory part of Section 4.3 (before Section 4.3.1):

If both positive and standard_name are provided, it is recommended that they should be consistent. For instance, if a depth of 1000 metres is represented by -1000 and positive is up, it would be inconsistent to give the standard_name as depth, whose definition (vertical distance below the surface) implies positive down. If an application detects such an inconsistency, the user should be warned, and the positive attribute should be used to determine the sign convention.

Insert the following into Section 4.3 of the conformance document:

Recommendations:

The positive attribute should be consistent with the sign convention implied by the definition of the standard_name, if both are provided.

There is no general way to check consistency at present.

Jonathan

#111 fixed New web site cf-conventions@… painter1
Description

The new CF Conventions web site is still under construction. Use this ticket to report any problems with the new site. Here are some problems which I am aware of:

1. CF Conventions document, html version, versions 1.6 and 1.7-draft1:

The web server inserts some extraneous code early in Chapter 9, which messes up the rest of the chapter, forward to some point in the appendices. The html document itself is correct.

1. Documents page, both links to v26 of the Standard Names table are dead.
1. The quick links just give you stubs for standard names and the conformance document.
1. The top bar just gives you a stub for "Conformance". It's worth reconsidering, btw, what really belongs in the top bar.
1. There is no link to the document source code (in DocBook?).