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Ticket Resolution Summary Owner Reporter
#14 wontfix Allow time coordinates to be stored as a W3C / ISO 8601formatted String cf-conventions@… caron

Currently time coordinates must be stored as a number with units that are parsable by the udunits library (cf section 4.4).

I propose that we also allow time coordinates to be expressed as W3C/ISO 8601 formatted Strings. (Example: 2007-03-29T12:00:00Z) This format is widely used internationally, it is a profile by the W3C of the ISO standard. This page has a summary of the format and more links:


  • A string representation is human readable (compare with "348472938 secs since 2007-03-29 12:00:00Z")
  • Independence from the udunits library when needed.
  • May be easier to use for some.

Proposed change:

1) Change section 4.4 to start with:

"Date coordinates must either be of type char, formatted according to the W3C/ISO 8601 Date format, or of numeric type with a mandatory units attribute containing a udunit compatible date unit string."

2) Add an appendix that describes the W3C/ISO 8601 format, or simply point to an external link.

Note: I find it clearer to use "date" to refer to "calendar date", and "time" to mean a "unit of time duration" (eg 1500 secs). It might be worth looking through our usage to see where this meaning may be unclear.

#15 fixed Correct Appendix A for flag_values attribute cf-conventions@… jonathan

This is a proposed correction for an error in the documents, not a change to the standard. According to the rules, it will be accepted if no-one objects to it in the next three weeks.

The table in Appendix A incorrectly states that flag_values is a string attribute. This is inconsistent with CF 3.5, which says, "The flag_values attribute is the same type as the variable to which it is attached." This error was pointed out by John Stark in April 2007 and this month by Philippe Poilbarbe on the netCDF email list.

The correction required is as follows:

  • Add "D for the type of the data variable" to the sentence "The Type values are S for string, N for numeric" before the table in Appendix A.
  • Change the type from S to D for flag_values in the table.
  • In the conformance document, add a section:
    3.5 Flags
    The flag_values attribute must have the same type as the variable to which it is attached.


#16 fixed unnecessary & confusing variable in example 7.7 cf-conventions@… taylor13

In example 7.9 of the convention, the variable time_bounds appears but is not needed because the climatology_bounds are defined. Note that there is no "bounds" attribute pointing to time_bounds, so they aren't really illegal, but they are unnecessary and therefore might be confusing.

Recommend delighting time_bounds from the example.

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