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 Christiane Textor
  • updated 8 June 2006 Christiane Textor
  • updated 12 June 2006 Michael Schulz
  • updated 8=13 June 2006 Christiane Textor

Comments to ChristianeTextor or directly on our discussion page are highly welcome!

You can directly modify the tables here, all versions are stored under 'history'. However, in order to keep track of the changes, please send an email to ChristianeTextor.

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

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

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

Table 1: Components 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"

Compartement explanation unit further remark
atmosphere atmosphere in all phases large-scale property
in_troposphere in troposphere in all phases large-scale property
in_stratosphere in stratosphere in all phases large-scale property
in_air in air locally measurable
in_cloudy_air in cloudy air locally measurable
in_clear_air in clear air, outside clouds locally measurable
in_cloudwater within cloud-water or cloud-ice locally measurable
in_sea_water in sea water locally measurable
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
content vertically integrated mass kg/m2 content=column, should not be used any longer, not self-explaining
number_content vertically integrated number 1/m2 used for aerosol and gases
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 masses/numbers and gases
dry_deposition_flux_due_to_sedimentation sedimentation/gravitational settling different for aerosols masses/numbers and gases
dry_deposition_flux dry deposition (dry=turdry+seddry) different for aerosols masses/numbers and gases
emission_flux emission different for aerosols and gases
chemical_gross_production chemical production different for aerosols and gases
chemical_net_production net chemical production different for aerosols and gases
chemical_destruction chemical destruction different for aerosols and gases
gases G
emission_flux_of_G_at_surface molecule/m2/s
dry_deposition_flux_of_G_at_surface 1/m2/s=molecules/m2/s
wet_deposition_flux_of_G_at_surface 1/m2/s=molecules/m2/s
chemical_gross_production_of_G_in_air 1/s=ppv/s
chemical_net_production_of_G_in_air 1/s=ppv/s
chemical_destruction_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_net_production_of_A_in_air kg/m3/s
chemical_destruction_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)

Species names[edit | edit source]

Table 2.1: Chemicals[edit | edit source]

Gas Species
CF species_name Species Chemical formula Remarks
nitric_oxide Nitric 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

Table 2.2: Aerosols[edit | edit source]

Aerosol Species
CF species_name Species Chemical formula Remarks
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
PM10_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size of 10um or less
PM2p5_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size of 2.5um or less, fine fraction
PM1_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size of 1um or less
PM0p1_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size of 0.1um or less, ultrafine fraction
nucleation_mode_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size of 0.01um or less
Aitken_mode_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size between 0.01 and 0.1um
accumulation_mode_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size between 0.1 and 1um
coarse_aerosol particles of aerodynamic size between 2.5 and 10um, coarse fraction

Proposed names[edit | edit source]

Table 3.1: Proposed names for chemicals[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_nitric_oxide_in_air volume mixing ratio of nitric 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)

Table 3.2: Proposed names for aerosols[edit | edit source]

Proposed Standard names
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