NetCDF files - CL61

CL61 User Guide

Document code
Document type
User guide

Network Common Data Form (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.

NetCDF data access libraries are available for Python, Java, and other programming languages.

The netCDF format used in CL61 is built on netCDF‑4 which is built on Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). You can open and read CL61 netCDF files with any HDFS or netCDF‑4 reader, for example, Panoply.

For more information about netCDF, see

NetCDF file format allows the grouping of data types into a single file. A netCDF file is made of one or several variables. Each variable consists of:

  • Data: value or a multidimensional table
  • Metadata: data that characterizes the data

CL61 netCDF files are sent using the SSH file transfer protocol (SFTP) to a customer server. The ceilometer is defined as a secure client using a key-based scheme. The files contain the following data:

  • Atmospheric attenuated backscatter and polarization profiles
  • Cloud heights and vertical visibility
  • Total cloud cover (sky condition)
  • Cloud layer specific covers and heights (sky condition)
  • Cloud penetration depth or cloud thickness
  • Precipitation detection (binary)
  • Fog detection (binary)
  • Measurement metadata (for example, tilt angle and gain type)
  • Diagnostics data (status, monitoring)
  • Metadata, including:
    • Interface version
    • Device identity and location
    • Device status and monitoring data

For information about the netCDF conventions, see

To configure the feeds in the command line interface (CLI), see the instructions about configuring netCDF reporting and the list of parameters.