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Data Reference Syntax

Directory syntax

  • ~/<dataset>/downloads: A temporary dumping ground for downloaded files.
  • ~/<dataset>/data: For data files I want to keep and use. To move from downloads to data they must have undergone pre-processing

Standard variable abbreviations

This list gives the stardard variable id, followed by the standard_name / long_name (these both need to be the same and have underscores instead of spaces to keep iris/cartopy happy).

  • zg, geopotential_height: Geopotential height
  • tas, surface_air_temperature: Surface air temperature
  • psl, sea_level_pressure: Sea level pressure
  • sf, streamfunction: Streamfunction
  • ua, eastward_wind: Eastward wind velocity
  • va, northward_wind: Northward wind velocity
  • pr, precipitation: Precipitation
  • sic, sea_ice_fraction: Sea ice concentration/fraction
  • vrot: Northward wind velocity on a rotated sphere (i.e. the north pole has been shifted and the meridional wind re-calculated accordingly)
  • envva, hilbert_transformed_northward_wind: Wave envelope calculated via a Hilbert Transform

In order to be compliant with my iris/cartopy plotting routines, all variables should start with these standard names (and have the corresponding unaltered standard_name and long_name) then things can be appended to the id using underscores (e.g. tas_DJF).

File name syntax

Basic data files



  • <time>: <tstep>-<aggregation>-<season>
  • <spatial>: <grid>-<region>-<bounds>-<np>


  • <tstep>: daily, monthly
  • <aggregation>: 030day-runmean, anom-wrt-1979-2011, anom-wrt-all
  • <season>: JJA, MJJASO
  • <grid>: native or something like y181x360, which describes the number of latitude (181) and longitude (360) points (in this case it is a 1 by 1 degree horizontal grid).
  • <region>: Region names are defined in
  • <bounds>: e.g. lon225E335E-lat10S10N or mermax, zonal-anom
  • <np>: North pole location, e.g. np20N260E

Examples include:

More complex file names



  • <inside>: The variable inside the file. e.g. tas-composite, datelist
  • <filters>: e.g. samgt90pct (gt and lt and used for greater and less than, pct for percentile)
  • <prev-var>: if it's not obvious what variable <inside> was created from, include the previous variable/s