Frequently Asked Questions

This section attempts to address some of the recurring questions that have been asked about the CMIP Community Storage Server. If you would like to seek additional support, please see our Community Forum.

In what format is CMIP5 data provided? All datum are provided, unmodified, in their native format, NetCDF (Network Common Data Format). NetCDF is a set of software libraries and self-describing, machine-independent data formats that support the creation, access, and sharing of array-oriented scientific data. For more information on NetCDF, please visit:

What software tools are available for viewing and analyzing NetCDF model output data? There are many software tools available for analyzing and manipulating gridded data that natively support NetCDF format. For viewing and rudimentary analysis of NetCDF files, the following software tools are recommended:

  • Panoply is a free software tool provided by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). It is a cross-platform application which plots geo-gridded arrays from netCDF, HDF, and GRIB datasets.
  • Ncview is a free software tool provided by Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). It provides capabilities for visual browsing of NetCDF files.

For robust analysis of NetCDF data the following software is recommended:

  • MATLAB is a high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming provided by MathWorks.
  • NetCDF C, C++, Java, and Fortran libraries are provided by Unidata for programmatically reading, writing, and manipulating NetCDF data.

I’m interested in a future prediction of a particular climatological variable – what model should I use? The answer to this question is subject to circumstance, differences in various models, and personal bias. We recommend using a multi-model average to compute a future prediction of any climatological variable. Furthermore, we would encourage you to reach out to the WHOI community for recommendations pertaining to the viability of individual models.

Are all model output data provided on a common grid? No. The selection of grid types and specifications are left to the discretion of each modelling institution.

Does the WHOI CMIP5 Community Storage Server provide utilities to re-grid datum, create spatial or temporal subsets of provided data, or generate multi-model averages? Currently, no. Due to the differences in model grids, resolutions, and other file structure semantics, no utility is available to provide generic re-griding, subsetting, or multi-model averaging of datasets.