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CIM metadata standard

The Common Information Model - a comprehensive metadata standard for climate modeling

The potential to interpret, share and reuse simulation results is strongly correlated with the quality of their description. Even though there are some quasi-metadata standards (such as NetCDF), there is no comprehensive standard description for climate data, that includes also details on experiment, model and simulations.

The Metafor Project

To develop a format to describe climate data in a standardized way, set up a questionnaire to collect the information and prototype tools to manage and view the resulting files was the aim of the Metafor project. The focus was on the collection of metadata from the CMIP5 modeling groups, but the objective is to establish a general standard for climate modeling data.

The Common Information Model

The resulting standard, the Common Information Model (CIM), describes the climate models the performed simulations, the underlying experiments as well as the hardware used for their model runs. The CIM is represented by a set of UML diagrams, and transformed into a XML schema. The XML schema is used to validate XML documents, with the information collected in the questionnaire. More information on the CIM standard can be found in the CIM portal (Earth System Documentation, es-doc).

The CIM questionnaire

Currently, the CMIP5 modeling groups are invited to describe their performed simulation in the questionnaire. The Questionnaire, further information on its completion and the resulting metadata can be found here.

The CIM viewer

METAFOR developed the CIM viewer to browse through the CIM XML documents in a human readable form. The responses of the CIM questionnaire are collected in a central repository. To search these data go to es-doc and click on "Search".