About the CF Standard Name Table
The CF standard name table specifies the possible values of the standard_name attribute defined by the CF NetCDF standard. The only valid CF standard names are those which appear in the standard name table. It is expected that the table will expand by the addition of new entries, but existing entries will always continue to be valid. If it becomes desirable to introduce a new name for a quantity which has already been named, the old name will be defined as an alias of the new name. In this hypertext version of the table, aliases are shown following the standard name to which they refer. The use of an alias for the standard_name attribute when writing new data is not recommended.
Names in the table have generally been constructed following some guidelines. However, new names, even if generated according to the guidelines, must be explicitly added to the table before they may be regarded as valid; please send requests and questions concerning standard names to the CF metadata mailing list.
In any particular project comparing data from different sources, it may be necessary or convenient for the participants to adopt further restrictions on which standard names are to be used.
The standard name of a data variable implies nothing about the coordinate variables which are used to describe the variation it can exhibit. Thus, for instance, air_temperature is the standard name for air temperature regardless of whether it has a vertical coordinate of height, pressure, sigma or model level number.
Since 31 January 2003, standard names have not been removed from the table. If you were using standard names before then, see the description of the changes made earlier and the correspondences between current standard names and those originally proposed in January 2001.