File Formats Demystified

The CEDA archives cover a wide range of file format. The following documentation covers the main formats within the CEDA archives with links to tools supporting the format. For information about which format is used for a dataset please consult the format section of the dataset on it's catalogue record in CEDA's data catalogue.

Additional information about  metadata formats is given on the "Introduction to metadata" article.

Format Type File endings Commonly used for
BADC-CSV text .csv simple "1-D" type of data, e.g. instrument time series data
NASA Ames text .na aircraft and older instrument data (older data may have an  older filenaming convetion)
HITRAN text various spectroscopy data
JCAMP-DX text .dx, .jdx only suitable for spectra from spectroscopy experiments
NetCDF binary .nc model data and observational data with more than 1 dimension (e.g. time-height data)
HDF binary .hdf satellite data
PP binary .pp Met Office model output
GRIB binary .grb ECMWF model output
.tar balling together a number of files as a coherent set of files to be downloaded together
gzip, bzip, zip
compression .gz, .bz, .zip to reduce the volume required for the file to aid transfer and storage

Other Text Formats (ASCII)

Other formats are also present in the archive, mainly in human-readable form. Please see this article concerning  such "ASCII" formats.

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