Unidatas Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) was developed and is maintained at Unidata, part of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Community Programs (UCP). Unidata is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation.
NetCDF is a set of software libraries and machine-independent data formats that support the creation, access, and sharing of array-oriented scientific data. These data are quite large, which is another characteristic of real data. For a better understanding of NetCDF file, pay attention the following concepts:
If a user would need to call and access meteorological data on a daily, monthly, and annual scale with different attributes for all regions of the world (with three and four dimensions), he/she cannot easily worked with them by other format files (Excel, text, etc.), due to these format of data have different attributes so they have large capacity and they have been called metadata. In this case he/she faces with a lot of trouble.
Consequently, there is a need for a specific data format so that the data can be easily process. Therefore, NetCDF format file are so essential to maintenance of metadata. This format of data files are quite large and many users need to access small subsets of large datasets -in various formats- for representing scientific data. These datasets may differ in size, number of dimensions and may represent data for different regions.
One NetCDF file may contain several datasets and each value in this datasets can be located in space (relative to each-based coordinates and) time. Also, it has a standard for data access and for representing scientific data.
The libraries of NetCDF files have been consist of C, FORTRAN, C++, Java, and other languages. Programming interfaces are also available for Python, IDL, MATLAB, R, C++, Ruby, and Perl. NetCDF files should have the file name extension '.nc'. NetCDF is run on Linux, Windows, and various other platforms.