CF Standard Names - Discussed Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosol Terms

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UNFINISHED - WORK IN PROGRESS Version update[edit | edit source]

  • first version 22 May 2006
  • updated 2 June 2006
  • updated 8 June 2006

comments to ChristianeTextor are highly welcome! see also our discussion

Table 1 provides the name-components and terms to be used in constructing CF names for Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosol purposes.

Table 2 adds a list of chemical and aerosol species to be used together with the name components given in table 1.

Table 3 provides a list of most often used standard names, constructed solely from name components and species already mentioned in tables 1 and 2.

The ideas in these table are based on work in the PRISM project (Peter van Velthoven) see PRISM Standard Name Tables, latest Version, V 1.3

Table 1: Standard Name-Components to be used to construct full CF standard names[edit | edit source]

Several types of Name-components exist: 1) Compartments; 2) Interface or Origin information; 3) Concentration/mixing ratio/column burden; 4) Fluxes; 5) Optical properties


  • all forcing variables are still missing
  • always provide also in_air = atmosphere (as opposed to ocean,soil) info in names?
  • how to distinguish ion - radicals, e.g. NO3 ?


  • articles and prepositions should be avoided
  • try to use SI units (e.g. not hours but seconds)
  • atmosphere_optical_thickness_due_to_X

is defined by CF, however: 1) very long name, 2) does not fit with cloud_optical_depth, 3) is there any opt. depth not in the atmosphere? therefore suggestion of this new name/alias"

Name Components for CF Name Construction

Compartement explanation unit further remark
atmosphere atmosphere large-scale properties
in_air in air locally measurable
in_sea_water in sea water
in_troposphere in troposphere
in_stratosphere in stratosphere
in_cloudwater within clouds
Interface or Origin information
from_stratosphere origin in stratosphere
from_troposphere origin of tracer in troposphere
at_surface at surface level
at_tropopause tropopause level
at_top_of_atmosphere top of atmosphere level
concentration/mixing ratio/column unit
column vertically integrated mass kg/m2 content=column, should not be used any longer, not self-explaining
mole_fraction for gases ppv, 1
mass_concentration aerosols mass kg/m3
number_concentration aerosols number 1/m3
Fluxes [species-unit/second]
dry_deposition_flux_due_to_turbulence turbulent dry deposition different for aerosols and gases
dry_deposition_flux_due_to_sedimentation seddry deposition different for aerosols and gases
dry_deposition_flux dry deposition (dry=turdry+seddry) different for aerosols and gases
emission_flux emission different for aerosols and gases
chemical_gross_production chemical production different for aerosols and gases
chemical_loss chemical destruction different for aerosols and gases
chemical_net_production net chemical production different for aerosols and gases
gases G
emission_flux_of_G_at_surface kg/m2/s

dry_deposition_flux_of_G_at_surface 1/(m2s)=molecules/(m2s)
wet_deposition_flux_of_G_at_surface 1/(m2s)=molecules/(m2s)
chemical_gross_production_of_G_in_air 1/s=(ppv/s)
chemical_loss_of_G_in_air 1/s=(ppv/s)
chemical_net_production_of_G_in_air 1/s=(ppv/s)
aerosols A
emission_flux_of_A_at_surface kg/m2/s

dry_deposition_flux_due_to_turbulence_of_A_at_surface kg/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_due_to_sedimentation_of_A_at_surface kg/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_A_at_surface kg/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_A_at_surface kg/m2/s
chemical_gross_production_of_A_in_air kg/m3/s
chemical_loss_of_A_in_air kg/m3/s
chemical_net_production_of_A_in_air kg/m3/s

Optical properties / forcing
optical_depth aerosol optical depth () 1 equivalent to atmosphere_optical_thickness_due_to_X ?

forcing see CF names forcing specified per species W/m2 to be used with species name (X_forcing)

Table 2: Species[edit | edit source]

CF species_name Species Chemical formula Remarks
nitrogen_oxide Nitrogen oxide NO
hydrogen_peroxide Hydrogen peroxide H2O2
methane Methane CH4
carbon_monoxide Carbon monoxide CO
nitric_acid Nitric acid HNO3
methyl_hydrogen_peroxide Methyl hydrogen peroxide CH3O2H
formaldehyde Formaldehyde CH2O
peroxy_acetyl_nitrate Peroxy acetyl nitrate (PAN) CH3C(O)O2NO2
sulfur_dioxide Sulfur dioxide SO2
dimethyl_sulfide Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) ** CH3SCH3
ammonia Ammonia NH3
ammonium Ammonium NH4
methane_sulfonic_acid Methane sulfonic acid (MSA) CH3SO2OH
hydroperoxy_radical Hydroperoxy radical HO2
methyl_peroxy_radical Methyl peroxy radical CH3O2
hydroxyl_radical Hydroxyl radical (hydroxy radical) OH
nitrogen_dioxide Nitrogen dioxide NO2
nitrate_radical Nitrate radical NO3
dinitrogen_pentoxide Dinitrogen pentoxide N2O5
nitric_acid Nitric acid HNO3
peroxy_nitric_acid Peroxy nitric acid HNO4
peroxy_acetyl_radical Peroxy acetyl radical C2O3
oxygen_radical_in_1D_state Oxygen radical in the 1D (excited) state O(1-D)
ethane ethane C2H6
ethylene ethylene or ethene C2H4
acetylene acetylene C2H2
propane propane C3H8
propene propene C3H6
acetone acetone C3H6O
butane butane C4H10
methyl_glyoxal Methyl glyoxal CH3C(O)C(O)H
isoprene Isoprene, 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene C5H8
lumped species (modified CBMiv) Species
paraffinic_carbon_bonds paraffinic (alkanic) carbon bonds
olefinic_carbon_bonds olefinic (alkenic) carbon bonds
aldehydes_higher_than_2 acetaldehyde and higher aldehydes,
organic_peroxides lumped higher organic peroxides, ROOH
organic_nitrates lumped alkyl nitrates, organic nitrates, RNO3
secondary_organic_oxy_radical the secondary_organic_oxy_radical, ROR
alkyl_peroxy_radical alkyl peroxy radicals, XO2
intermediate_product_of_isoprene_oxidation XO2N (intermediate product of isoprene oxidation)
nox NOx=NO+NO2
hox HOx=OH+HO2
aerosols extension _aerosol to distinguish from gases (e.g. NO3) radical in gas phase, from NO3 ion in aerosol
dust_aerosol dust
seasalt_aerosol seasalt
black carbon_aerosol black carbon BC
hydrophilic_black carbon_aerosol hydrophilic black carbon BC
hydrophobic_black carbon_aerosol hydrophobic black carbon BC
organic_carbon_aerosol_from_terpenes_as_particulate_organic_matter_aerosol organic carbon aerosol from terpenes ?
organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_matter_aerosol organic carbon OC
hydrophilic_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_matter_aerosol hydrophilic organic carbon OC
hydrophobic_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_matter_aerosol hydrophobic organic carbon OC
sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol sulfate SO4(2-) what is the cation?
nitrate_as_nitrate_aerosol nitrate NO3(-) what is the cation?
ammonium_as_ammonium_aerosol ammonium NH4(+)
ammonium_sulfate_aerosol ammonium sulfate (NH4)2SO4 do we need sulfate and ammonium sulfate?
aerosol total aerosol
aerosol water aerosol water
conversion_factor_OC_POM_aerosol conversion factor organic carbon to particulate organic carbon

Table 3: Proposed names[edit | edit source]

Proposed Standard names
CF Standard_name Canonical unit
gas phase species
mole_fraction_of_ozone_in_air volume mixing ratio of ozone, O3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nitrogen_oxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of nitrogen oxide, NO 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_hydrogen_peroxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_methane_in_air volume mixing ratio of methane, CH4 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_carbon_monoxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of carbon monoxide, CO 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nitric_acid_in_air volume mixing ratio of nitric acid, HNO3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_methyl_hydrogen_peroxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of methyl hydrogen peroxide, CH3O2H 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_formaldehyde_in_air volume mixing ratio of formaldehyde, CH2O 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_peroxy_acetyl_nitrate_in_air volume mixing ratio of peroxy acetyl nitrate, PAN, CH3COO2NO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_sulfur_dioxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of sulfur dioxide, SO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_dimethyl_sulfide_in_air volume mixing ratio of dimethyl sulfide, DMS, CH3SCH3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_ammonia_in_air volume mixing ratio of ammonia, NH3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_ammonium_in_air volume mixing ratio of ammonium, NH4 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_methane_sulfonic_acid_in_air volume mixing ratio of methane sulfonic acid, MSA, CH3SO2OH 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_hydroperoxy_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the hydroperoxy radical, HO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_methyl_peroxy_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the methyl peroxy radical, CH3O2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_hydroxyl_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the hydroxy radical, hydroxyl, OH 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nitrogen_dioxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of nitrogen dioxide, NO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nitrate_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the nitrate radical, NO3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_dinitrogen_pentoxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of dinitrogen pentoxide, N2O5 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nitric_acid_in_air volume mixing ratio of nitric acid, HNO3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_peroxy_nitric_acid_in_air volume mixing ratio of peroxy nitric acid, HNO4 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_peroxy_acetyl_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the peroxy acetyl radical, C2O3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_oxygen_radical_in_1D_state_in_air volume mixing ratio of the oxygen radical in the 1D excited state, O(1D) 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_ethane_in_air volume mixing ratio of ethane, C2H6 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_ethene_in_air volume mixing ratio of ethene, C2H4 (aka ethylene) 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_acetylene_in_air volume mixing ratio of acetylene, C2H2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_propane_in_air volume mixing ratio of propane, C3H8 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_propene_in_air volume mixing ratio of propene, C3H6 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_acetone_in_air volume mixing ratio of acetone, C3H6O 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_butane_in_air volume mixing ratio of butane, C4H10 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_methyl_glyoxal_in_air volume mixing ratio of methyl_glyoxal, CH3COCOH 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_isoprene_in_air volume mixing ratio of isoprene, C5H8 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_ozone_from_stratosphere_in troposphere volume mixing ratio of ozone from the stratosphere 1 (ppv)
lumped species
mole_fraction_of_paraffinic_carbon_bonds_in_air volume mixing ratio of paraffinic carbon bonds 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_olefinic_carbon_bonds_in_air volume mixing ratio of olefinic carbon bonds 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_aldehydes_higher_than_2_in_air volume mixing ratio of aldehydes with more than one C atom, RCHO 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_organic_peroxides_in_air volume mixing ratio of lumped higher organic peroxides, ROOH 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_organic_nitrates_in_air volume mixing ratio of lumped alkyl nitrates, organic nitrates, RNO3 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_secondary_organic_oxy_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of the secondary_organic_oxy_radical, ROR 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_alkyl_peroxy_radical_in_air volume mixing ratio of alkyl peroxy radicals, XO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_intermediate_product_of_isoprene_oxidation_in_air volume mixing ratio of XO2N (intermediate product of isoprene oxidation) 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_nox_in_air volume mixing ratio of NOx=NO+NO2 1 (ppv)
mole_fraction_of_hox_in_air volume mixing ratio of HOx=OH+HO2 1 (ppv)
gases: fluxes/productions/emissions
dry_deposition_flux_due_to_turbulence_of_ozone_at_surface dry deposition of ozone

" | 1/(m2s)= molecules/(m2s)"

wet_deposition_flux_of_nitric_acid_at_surface wet deposition of nitric acid, HNO3

" | 1/(m2s)= molecules/(m2s)"

chemical_net_production_of_ozone_atmosphere net chemical production rate of ozone from all reactions (homogeneous+heterogeneous)


chemical_gross_production_of_ozone_in_air gross chemical production rate of ozone in the gas phase 1/s=(ppv/s)
chemical_loss_of_ozone_in_air chemical loss rate of ozone due to gas phase reactions 1/s=(ppv/s)
chemical_loss_of_sulfur_dioxide_as_sulfur_dioxide_atmosphere chemical loss rate of SO2 1/s (kg/s)
mass_concentration_of_sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol_in_air sulfate aerosol (SO4) kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_nitrate_as_nitrate_aerosol_in_air nitrate aerosol (NO3-) kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_ammonium_sulfate_aerosol_in_air ammoniumsulfate aerosol ((NH4)2SO4) kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_seasalt_aerosol_in_air seasalt aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_organic_carbon_aerosol_from_terpenes_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_in_air aerosol from terpenes kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_in_air organic carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_hydrophilic_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_in_air hydrophilic organic carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_hydrophobic_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_in_air hydrophobic organic carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_black_carbon_aerosol_in_air black carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_hydrophilic_black_carbon_aerosol_in_air hydrophilic black carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_hydrophobic_black_carbon_aerosol_in_air hydrophobic black carbon aerosol kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_dust_aerosol_in_air dust kg/m3
mass_concentration_of_aerosol_water aerosol water kg/m3
aerosols: fluxes/productions/emissions
dry_deposition_flux_of_sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol_at_surface dry deposition of sulfate at the surface 2D kgS/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_seasalt_at_surface dry deposition of seasalt at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_at_surface dry deposition of orbanic carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_black_carbon_aerosol_at_surface dry deposition of black carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_dust_aerosol_at_surface dry deposition of dust at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol_at_surface wet deposition of sulfate at the surface 2D kgS/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_seasalt_aerosol_at_surface wet deposition of seasalt at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_orbanic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_at_surface wet deposition of orbanic carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_black_carbon_aerosol_at_surface wet deposition of black carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_dust_aerosol_at_surface wet deposition of dust at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
emission_flux_of_sulfate_aerosol_as_sulfate_at_surface emission of sulfate at the surface 2D kgS/m2/s
emission_flux_of_seasalt_aerosol_at_surface emission of seasalt at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
emission_flux_of_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_at_surface emission of organic carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
emission_flux_of_black_carbon_aerosol_at_surface emission of black carbon at the surface 2D kgC/m2/s
emission_flux_of_dust_aerosol_at_surface emission of dust at the surface 2D kg/m2/s
emission_flux_of_sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol_atmosphere emission of sulfate in the atmosphere 3D (including chemical production) kgS/m3/s
emission_flux_of_organic_carbon_as_particulate_organic_carbon_aerosol_in _the_atmosphere emission of orbanic carbon in the atmosphere 3D kgC/m3/s
emission_flux_of_black_carbon_atmosphere emission of black carbon in the atmosphere 3D kgC/m3/s
chemical_net_production_of_sulfate_as_sulfate_aerosol_atmosphere chemical production rate of sulfate 1/s (kg/s)
optical properties
sulfate_aerosol_optical_depth sulfate aerosol optical depth 1
black_carbon_aerosol_optical_depth black carbon aerosol optical depth 1
organic_carbon_aerosol_optical_depth organic carbon aerosol optical depth 1
dust_aerosol_optical_depth dust aerosol optical depth 1
seasalt_aerosol_optical_depth seasalt aerosol optical depth 1