Network Common Data Form

Initiative Type: Infrastructures

Belém Statement Area: Climate Variability, Ocean Observation

Initiative Location: United States of America

Time Frame: Ongoing


NetCDF (Network Common Data Form) is a set of software libraries and machine-independent data formats that support the creation, access, and sharing of array-oriented scientific data. It is also a community standard for sharing scientific data. The Unidata Program Center supports and maintains netCDF programming interfaces for C, C++, Java, and Fortran. Programming interfaces are also available for Python, IDL, MATLAB, R, Ruby, and Perl.Data in netCDF format is: (A) Self-Describing. A netCDF file includes information about the data it contains; (B) Portable. A netCDF file can be accessed by computers with different ways of storing integers, characters, and floating-point numbers; (C) Scalable. Small subsets of large datasets in various formats may be accessed efficiently through netCDF interfaces, even from remote servers; (D) Appendable. Data may be appended to a properly structured netCDF file without copying the dataset or redefining its structure; (E) Sharable. One writer and multiple readers may simultaneously access the same netCDF file; (F) Archivable. Access to all earlier forms of netCDF data will be supported by current and future versions of the software.

Contact: Network Common Data Form,

Initiative Website: