METAFOR provides a fairly comprehensive coverage of climate modelling concepts from description of models and model components, the configuration of modelling experiments, derivation of output variables and the physical data outputs. It also includes information on quality (measures and assessments). It has adopted ISO19115 concepts and in some places the metadata structures directly. One thread in the METAFOR project maps some METAFOR instance documents into a ISO19115 compliant data administration application.

In 2008, the Hadley Centre at the UK Met Office produced detailed metadata for all of the public climate datasets that have been released through the BADC - British Atmospheric Data Centre ( and UKCP09 ( This is believed to be the most detailed metadata set assembled for climate data to date. It is available as XML documents which are based on the DIF - Directory Interchange Format [DIF] and NUMSIM ( standards plus some UK Met Office specific structures.

A subset of this metadata has been loaded into the Global Change Master Directory and made available as a Met Office Hadley Centre portal through that system.

This metadata has been used to create the required metadata content for the EC Ensembles Project (

The Hadley Centre will map this metadata, and the metadata for the datasets that will be generated for the CMIP5/AR5 ( programme, into the METAFOR standard ( This is an emerging standard being developed by a consortium in Europe but with strong links to the USA. There are many many issues to be addressed with METAFOR - not only with the data model behind it, but also the operations concepts that will be used to create and manage the METAFOR documents.

Moving to METAFOR is a significant piece of work and it will be 2010 before model descriptions and useful tools will be complete.

Contact: Mark Elkington,

-- ChrisLittle - 12 Aug 2009
Topic revision: r3 - 12 Aug 2009, ChrisLittle

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