Working with netCDF data files

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Viewing and manipulating netCDF files

There are many free and open-source software packages readily available for visualizing and manipulating netCDF files. These tools will reduce the need for the GEOS-Chem user community to rely on IDL (and GAMAP), which can be prohibitively expensive for some user groups. Some recommend tools are listed below.

1. ncdump: This command-line tool generates a text representation of netCDF data and can be used to quickly view the variables contained in a netCDF file. For example:
     # Display header information (dimensions, variables, attributes) only
     ncdump -h GEOSChem_restart.201308010000 | less	

     # Display header information followed by data values for variable(s) specified
     ncdump -v SPC_NO GEOSChem_restart.201308010000 | less
2. ncview: Visualization package for netCDF files, recommended for a quick and easy look at netCDF files.
3. Panoply: Data viewer for netCDF files. This package offers an alternative to ncview. From our experience, Panoply works nicely when installed on the desktop, but is slow to respond in the Linux environment.
4. NCO and CDO: Command-line tools for manipulating and analyzing netCDF files.
5. Other programming languages may be used for viewing or manipulating netCDF files, including but not limited to:

Some of the tools listed above, such as ncdump and ncview, may come pre-installed on your system. Others like NCO, CDO, and Panoply may need to be installed or loaded (e.g. via the module load command). Check with your system administrator or IT staff to see what is available on your system.

--Melissa Sulprizio (talk) 15:58, 17 January 2017 (UTC)