To facilitate the use of climate information NCPP uses two different types of information: Metadata and Translational Information. Metadata is highly structured. It includes a listing of the attributes of each data product. It is not interpretive in the same way that translational information is.
The NCPP technical team is adopting the metadata conventions that are most broadly used by the Earth science community. We also wish to contribute to the evolution of metadata conventions in support of data interoperability and shared tool development. As such, we are using ISO and Climate and Forecast (CF) conventions where they are applicable. However, in some areas these widely used conventions provide little guidance or structure.
For climate data provenance, we recognize a need for more customized schema and controlled vocabularies for specific communities. Thus we are also working with conventions such as the Common Information Model (CIM). The CIM is an ontology developed by a broad set of international partners for the climate domain, for CMIP5 and other activities, that comes with associated tools. It builds upon and extends the ISO and CF conventions to support descriptions of climate models, experiment designs, computing system information, downscaling strategies, and more. The CIM can be broken up into a set of schemas, which describe the formal structure of metadata documents, and controlled vocabularies, which define specialized metadata content for particular communities. NCPP is one of the groups expanding the CIM. Specifically, we are extending the controlled vocabulary used to describe downscaling methods and downscaled datasets. We are keen for this work to be collaborative and to wind up with a standard that fits the needs of the wider downscaling community.
We are open to the adoption of new conventions where existing conventions prove inadequate. In general, we do not support the creation of new conventions in areas where a common convention already exists or could readily be extended. We are committed to participating in the evolution of community metadata conventions and feeding suggestions and new developments back through the governance mechanisms of those conventions.
To review the community's progress on extending metadata standards, please see our "Metadata for Downscaling" page.