NCL > What's New

What was added in previous releases of NCL

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[current release - 6.6.2]

Version 6.6.2

February 28, 2019

Version 6.6.2 is the current version of NCL.
Go to the download page for information on downloading this version.

Versions 6.6.0 and 6.6.1

Versions 6.6.0 and 6.6.1 were not officially released due to some internal bugs that were fixed in version 6.6.2.

Version 6.5.0

July 16, 2018

New functions for task parallelism

This version contains two new functions that enable NCL scripts to execute multiple independent tasks in parallel. The tasks can be any operation that can be invoked from a UNIX command line. One example might be using an NCL driver script to execute a series of other NCL scripts in parallel.

  • subprocess - this is the main function which takes as input the shell command to execute.
  • subprocess_wait - checks the finish status of a concurrent process launched by subprocess.

For examples of using these functions, see the task parallelism examples page.

New Functions

  • dim_pad_extend - extends (i.e., expand, append, pad) an existing array along the 'record dimension' to a user specified size.

  • dim_pad_modulo - pads (i.e., expand, append, extend) an existing array such that the size of a specified dimension is a user specified 'modulo' length.

  • enthalpy - computes atmospheric enthalpy.

  • esacr_n - computes sample auto-correlations on the given dimension.

  • exponential_curve_fit - calculates the coefficients for a simple exponential curve fit of the form ' y = A*exp(B*x)' using least squares.

  • geolocation_circle - creates latitudes and longitudes that define concentric circles at user specified distances from a central location.

  • get_bitfield - unpacks bit fields from an array.

  • Several new file I/O query functions were added for consistency purposes and more meaningful names:

  • isconform - checks two variables for array conformance (same shape and size).

  • keyword_values - reads a text file that contains keywords and associated values (similar to fortran NAMELIST).

  • tlcl_evp_bolton - computes the lifting condensation level temperature using water vapor pressure.

  • tlcl_mixr_bolton - computes the lifting condensation level temperature using mixing ratio and pressure.

  • tlcl_rh_bolton - computes the lifting condensation level temperature using relative humidity.

  • tlcl_td_bolton - computes the lifting condensation level temperature using dew point temperature.

  • mixhum_convert - converts mixing ratio to specific humidity or vice-versa.

  • pot_temp_equiv_tlcl - computes equivalent potential temperature using the lifting condensation temperature.

  • regline_weight - calculates the linear regression coefficient between two series where the dependent (y) variable's values are weighted by some measure of uncertainty (typically, standard deviations) such that the Chi-square goodness-of-fit is minimized.

  • refevt_hamon - uses the Hamon formulation to derive reference evapotranspiration.

  • str_match_bool / str_match_bool_ic - returns a logical array of True/False/Missing indicating where the input array of strings contain the given substring.

  • simple_legend_ndc - creates a legend in NDC space based on user supplied resources. Similarly to simple_legend, simple_legend_ndc gives the user complete control over the design and placement of the legend, and can be seen as an easier way to create legends in NCL.

  • static_energy_atm - computes the atmospheric moist and dry static energy.

  • temp_virtual - computes atmospheric virtual temperature.

  • unwrap_phase - unwraps (correct) phase angles to produce smoother phase plots.

  • zscore - computes the zscore of a variable's given dimensions at all other dimensions and retains metadata.

New "elseif" statement

This version will have the long-requested "elseif" statement!

The old way of using "else if" required you to have an "end if" for every "else if" statement:

  a = 5
  if (a.eq.1) then
    a = a + 1
  else if (a.eq.2) then
    a = a + 2
  else if (a.eq.3) then
    a = a + 3
  else if (a.eq.5) then
    a = a + 5
    a = -1
  end if
  end if
  end if
  end if
  print("a = " + a)

The new way, with the use of "elseif" (no spaces) looks like this:

  a = 5
  if (a.eq.1) then
    a = a + 1
  elseif (a.eq.2) then
    a = a + 2
  elseif (a.eq.3) then
    a = a + 3
  elseif (a.eq.5) then
    a = a + 5
    a = -1
  end if
  print("a = " + a)

The old way will still work, and both codes above should return:

   a = 10

New profiler command line option Examples coming soon. Stay tuned...

Preloaded NCL scripts

Several NCL scripts are now preloaded, and you no longer need to explicitly load them at the top of your own scripts. Here's a full list of the preloaded scripts:


It's perfectly fine to continue loading one or more of these scripts, even if NCL is preloading them.

In most cases you will not notice but loading these scripts does take a few tenths of a second. In certain situations where you want to run many very short scripts the resulting overhead may cause a significant slowdown of your work flow. For this case, a new command line option, '-s', allows you to start NCL without preloading any scripts.

New resources

New color tables

NCL V6.5.0 has 29 new color maps added.

The table below contains a suite of color maps for vegetation.

NEO_div_vegetation_a NEO_div_vegetation_b
NEO_div_vegetation_c NEO_modis_ndvi
NOC_ndvi vegetation_ClarkU
vegetation_modis Click on color map name or color bar for more information or larger image.

The table below contains a matplotlib suite of color maps for oceanography. Thanks to Sam McClatchie of NOAA for the suggestion.

cmocean_algae cmocean_amp
cmocean_balance cmocean_curl
cmocean_deep cmocean_delta
cmocean_dense cmocean_gray
cmocean_haline cmocean_ice
cmocean_matter cmocean_oxy
cmocean_phase cmocean_solar
cmocean_speed cmocean_tempo
cmocean_thermal cmocean_turbid
Click on color map name or color bar for more information or larger image.

The table below contains four random color maps:

  • srip_reanalysis - selected by the SPARC reanalysis intercomparison project group for reanalysis comparisons. This group carefully selected colors so that groups of reanalyses worked well and so colorblind people could use it. The idea is that papers will have these colors for time-series comparisons. Thanks to Cathy Smith (NOAA/ESRL PSD and CU CIRES) for bringing it to our attention.

  • UKM_hadcrut - from the UK Met Office

  • GSFC_landsat_udf_density - from NASA's Landsat Science "undisturbed forests"

  • drought_severity - a drought severity color map

srip_reanalysis UKM_hadcrut
GSFC_landsat_udf_density drought_severity
Click on color map name or color bar for more information or larger image.

Graphics enhancements

  • get_color_index / get_color_rgba - these functions were enhanced to allow the third argument to be an array of values. This can signficantly speed up the routines if you have a lot of calls to these functions.

    See example table_8.ncl.

Function enhancements

  • cd_inv_string - new formatting options added for month names, and changed 'f' option to 'r' to match cd_string.

  • nggcog - this procedure was updated to allow numeric input and/or float and double output. See example polyg_27.ncl for an example.

Other enhancements

  • ncl_convert2nc - an "-nc4" option was added to allow the conversion of files to NetCDF 4.

Function and procedure bugs fixed

  • bin_avg - this function expects equal grid spacing for the destination grid. The internal test required exact spacing. However, some grid spacing led to round-off errors which caused the test to fail. More robust testing was used to address this issue.

  • calculate_daily_values / calculate_monthly_values / calculate_segment_values - the documentation for each function was updated to clarify the supported `data structures. The calculate_daily_values and calculate_monthly_values functions now support 5-dimensional structures of the form: (ncase,time,level,lat,lon) and (time,ncase,level,lat,lon).

  • calendar_decode2 - no longer exits with an error if the "calendar" attribute is set to "proleptic_gregorian".

  • cd_calendar / cd_string - the "calendar" attribute can now be any case ("julian", "JULIAN", "Julian", etc).

  • clmDayTLLL - fixed a bug where it wasn't handling the 360-day calendar properly.

  • daylight_fao56 - fixed an issue which arose when two-dimensional latitude/longitude coordinates were encountered.

  • dim_acumrun_n - fixed a bug that would cause this function to crash if you passed in an "lrun" that was greater than the number of elements of the input array.

  • dim_pqsort / dim_pqsort_n - these functions would fail if you tried to sort an array with more than two gigabyte values.

  • fbinread / fbinwrite / fbindirread /fbindirwrite - these functions can now read and write > 2 GB variables.

  • get_isolines - was not correctly checking for out-of-bounds conditions and sometimes returned non-sensical values. See the isolines examples page for NCL graphical scripts that use this function.

  • lspoly / lspoly_n - these functions were potentially returning the wrong coefficients if multiple least-squares polynominals were input at once.

  • natgrid_Wrap - was not correctly attaching the coordinate arrays to the return variable (it had the rightmost two dimensions swapped).

  • paleo_outline - fixed a bug that was restricting the string length of the base name of the map files to 512 characters.

  • pot_vort_isobaric - when opt=1, this function returned seven variables as elements of a list variable. It was supposed to return three variables.

  • product - now allows types int64, uint, and uint64 to be input.

  • stat_medrng - now allows the output arguments to be scalars as advertised.

  • trop_wmo - was returning -999 for missing values, but no _FillValue attribute was being set.

  • ut_string_fix - was not calling ut_calendar_fix under the hood, and thus it still had the infamous "60 second" bug.

  • wgt_volrmse - was returning the wrong values due to a value being squared twice.

  • wrf_user_intrp2d / wrf_user_intrp3d - these two vertical cross section routines weren't including the 0th grid point when setting up the output domain, causing the output array to be missing a grid point in the rightmost dimension. In the figures below, you can see the error by comparing the right edge of each plot. (Click on color map name or color bar for more information or larger image.)

Graphics bugs fixed

  • cnLineLabelFormat - this resource is now recognized by the gsn_csm contouring routines.

  • cnLowLabelFontColor / cnHighLabelFontColor - these resources are now recognized by the wrf_contour function.

  • cnLineLabelFontThicknessF / cnHighLabelFontThicknessF / cnLowLabelFontThicknessF / cnInfoLabelFontThicknessF - these contour font thickness resources are no longer ignored.

  • gsn_add_text / gsn_create_text / gsn_text / gsn_text_ndc - fixed a bug in which missing text strings would show up on the plot as whatever the missing value was for that string. (Click on images for a larger view.)

  • gsn_csm_streamline_scalar_map_polar - fixed a bug where this function would fail if you tried to turn off the labelbar by setting lbLabelBarOn to False.

  • gsnYRefLine / gsnXRefLine

    • Fixed a bug where drawing your curves with markers or markers and lines (xyMarkLineMode = "markers" or "marklines") would cause extra markers to show up at locations where the X or Y reference line crossed your curve(s). (Click on images for a larger view.)

    • Fixed a bug where if you are adding a different number of X and Y reference lines to a plot via these two resources, then you may get a fatal error:

      fatal:Number of dimensions on right hand side do not match number of dimension in left hand side
      fatal:["Execute.c":8640]:Execute: Error occurred at or near line 6014 in file 

      If you have NCL V6.4.0 and need a fix for this problem now, download this gsn_csm_640_fix.ncl file and load it from your own script after any other load commands.

  • gsn_add_polyline / gsn_polyline

    • Fixed a bug in which NCL was not always drawing the shortest path between two points on a map. (Click on images for a larger view.)

    • Fixed a bug in which the lines wouldn't be drawn correctly if the precision exceeded that which could be represented by a float.

  • Fixed a bug where if you were drawing filled contours or vectors with transparency applied (for example, via resources like cnFillOpacityF or vcGlyphOpacityF), the opacity was also being applied to the map outlines. The map outlines have been fixed to be fully opaque. (Click on images for a larger view.)

  • gsn_csm_xxxx_map functions - Fixed a bug where if mpCenterLonF was set to something less than 0 (and pmTickMarkDisplayMode was not set to "Always"), the longitude labels in the eastern hemisphere were continuing to be labeled with "W".

  • gsn_panel / gsnPanelLabelBar - Fixed a bug where if you are running a script that calls gsn_panel to panel XY plots and setting gsnPanelLabelBar to True, then you would get a fatal error:

    fatal:Variable (mono_fill_scl) is undefined
    fatal:["Execute.c":8640]:Execute: Error occurred at or near line 6100 \
       in file $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl

    The gsnPanelLabelBar resource cannot be applied to XY plots anyway, so the solution is to simply not set this resource. In the next release, NCL will produce a warning instead of exiting with an error.

  • tfDoNDCOverlay - This resource used to only be settable to True / False. As of several versions ago, this resource can now be set with strings. The gsn_csm functions, however, were still only allowing True/False values. You can now set this resource either way.

    The following settings show the new values and their allowable equivalents:

    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = 0 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = False 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = "DataTransform" 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = 1 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = True 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = "NDCViewport" 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = 2 
    res@tfDoNDCOverlay = "NDCDataExtent" 

    The string settings are case insensitive, so "DataTransform" is the same as "datatransform" which is the same as "DaTaTranSfORM".

    To see an example of what the three values mean, see example dataonmap_14.ncl on the Plotting data on a map examples page.

Other bugs fixed

  • GRIB2 - fixed issues with reading files containing aerosol data.

  • ncl_convert2nc - fixed a bug where this script would not work properly if you give it more than two files.

Version 6.4.0

February 28, 2017

New functions

  • Array Create, Manipulator, Query

  • Bootstrap functions - Application of the bootstrap method.

    • bootstrap_correl - Bootstrap estimates of sample cross correlations (ie, Pearson's correlation coefficient) between two variables.

    • bootstrap_diff - Bootstrap mean differences from two samples.

    • bootstrap_estimate -Extract the user specified element from the bootstrapped values.

    • bootstrap_regcoef - Bootstrap estimates of the linear regression coefficient.

    • bootstrap_stat - Bootstrap estimates of basic statistics derived from a variable.

  • CESM

    • albedo_ccm - Calculates the albedo given a pair of model radiation variables.

    • time_reassign - Reassign (replace) a Cf-conforming "time" variable by calculating the mid-time values using the "bounds" attribute.

    • time_reassign_cv2var - Reassign (replace) a Cf-conforming "time" coordinate variable associated with a variable by calculating the mid-time values using the "bounds" attribute.

  • Crop & Evapotranspiration - A suite of functions for computing crop water requirements based upon the FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56 including Penman-Monteith estimates (FAO 56) of reference evapotranspiration.

  • Date, String

    • cd_inv_string - Converts string time values to numeric values, using the given format string.

    • cla_sq - Create a string that uses single quotes (') to enclose command line assignment statements (CLAs) for later use by NCL's system procedure.

  • Extreme Value Statistics - A small suite of functions focused on extreme value distributions.

    • extval_frechet - Calculates the probability (PDF) and cumulative (CDF) distribution functions of the Frechet Type II distribution given the shape, scale and location parameters.

    • extval_gev - Calculates the probability (PDF) and cumulative (CDF) distribution functions of the of the Generalized Extreme Value (GEV) distribution given the shape, scale and location parameters.

    • extval_gumbel - Calculates the probability (PDF) and cumulative (CDF) distribution functions of the Gumbel (Type I) distribution function given the scale and location parameters.

    • extval_mlegam - Estimates the shape, scale, location other parameters for the Gamma distribution using Maximum-Likelihood Estimation.

    • extval_mlegev - Estimates the shape, scale and location parameters for the Generalized Extreme-Value (GEV) distribution using Maximum-Likelihood Estimation.

    • extval_pareto - Calculates the probability (PDF) and cumulative (CDF) distribution functions of the Pareto distributions (Generalized, Type I, TYpe II) given the shape, scale and location parameters.

    • extval_recurrence_table - Calculates the recurrence interval (return period), cumulative and exceedence probabilities based upon a time series.

    • extval_return_period - Calculates the period of an event (eg, flood, heat wave, drought) occurring given an average event recurrence interval and specified probability level.

    • extval_return_prob - Calculates the probability of an event (eg, flood, heat wave, drought) given an average event interval and a specified exceedance period.

    • extval_weibull - Calculates the probability (PDF) and cumulative (CDF) distribution functions of the Weibull Type III distribution given the shape, scale and location parameters.

  • General Applied Math

    • calculate_daily_values - Calculate daily values [avg, sum, min, max] from high frequency temporal values.

    • calculate_segment_values - Calculate segment (eg, pentad [5-day], weekly [7-day]) values from high frequency temporal values.

    • ceemdan - Complete ensemble empirical mode decomposition with adaptive noise.

    • cohsq_c2p - Given coherence-squared and the effective degrees-of-freedom, calculate the associated probability.

    • cohsq_p2c - Calculate the value(s) of coherence-squared required for a specified significance level and effective degrees-of-freedom.

    • demod_cmplx - Perform a complex demodulation on one or more time series.

    • eemd - Perform ensemble empirical mode decomposition.

    • eofunc_n / eofunc_ts_n / eofunc_n_Wrap / eofunc_ts_n_Wrap / eof2data_n

      These are identical to eofunc / eofunc_ts / eofunc_Wrap / eofunc_ts_Wrap / eof2data, except you no longer need to reorder the input array so that 'time' is the rightmost dimension.

    • get_d2r - Return a constant that converts degrees to radians.

    • get_pi - Return pi as a type float or double.

    • get_r2d - Return a constant that converts radians to degrees.

  • Heat-Stress functions

    • fire_index_haines - Calculates the Haines fire index for a sounding.

    • heat_apptemp - Compute apparent temperature.

    • heat_discoi - Compute a simplified human discomfort index.

    • heat_discoi_stull - Compute the human discomfort index due to excessive heat and humidity using the Stull wet bulb temperature (wetbulb_stull).

    • heat_esidx_moran - Compute an environmental stress index (ESI) which is an alternative to the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT).

    • heat_humidex - Compute the 'feels-like' temperature for humans.

    • heat_index_nws - Computes the 'heat index' as calculated by the National Weather Service.

    • heat_swamp_cooleff - Compute the swamp cooler temperatures at 65% amd 80% efficiency.

    • heat_thic_thip - Compute the thermal humidity comfort index (thic) and the thermal humidity physiology index (thip).

    • heat_wbgt_inout - Compute the composite Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index with options for indoor or outdoor formulations.

    • heat_wbgt_simplified - Simplified WBGT index.

    • wetbulb_stull - Calculate wet bulb temperature at standard sea level pressure (1013.25 hPa) using the method of R.Stull.

  • Legends

    • simple_legend - Creates a legend based on user supplied resources. simple_legend gives the user complete control over the design and placement of the legend, and can be seen as an easier way to create legends in NCL. See examples leg_16.ncl and leg_17.ncl.

  • Meteorology

    • brunt_vaisala_atm - Compute the Brunt-Vaisala frequency which is a measure of bouyancy in a continuously stratified atmosphere.

    • coriolis_param - Compute Coriolis parameter.

    • eady_growth_rate - Compute the Eady maximum baroclinic growth rate.

    • epflux - Compute quasi-geostrophic Eliassen-Palm fluxes at isobaric levels.

    • grad_latlon_cfd - Compute the meridional and zonal gradients of a variable on a global or limited area rectilinear grid.

    • latent_heat_water - Estimate latent heat flux for water: evaporization (condensation), melting (freezing) or sublimation (deposition).

    • pot_temp_equiv - Compute equivalent potential temperature..

    • pres_hybrid_jra55 - Calculates the "full" hybrid levels for the 60-level Japanese ReAnalysis.

    • relhum_ice / relhum_water - Calculates relative humidity with respect to ice/water, given temperature, mixing ratio, and pressure.

      Contributed by Alan Brammer of the University at Albany - SUNY.

    • rigrad_bruntv_atm - Compute the atmospheric gradient Richardson number and, optionally, the Brunt-Vaisala, buoyancy and shear.

    • satvpr_water_bolton - Estimate the saturation vapor pressure over water using Bolton's equation 10.

    • satvpr_water_stipanuk - Estimate the saturation vapor pressure over water using the Stipanuk approximation.

    • wetbulb - Compute wetbulb temperature.

    • wgt_vertical_n - Calculate a weighted vertical average and/or sum (integral).

    • wind_speed - Calculate wind speed from zonal and meridional wind components and return associated meta data.

    • wind_stats - Given a sequence of wind speeds and directions, compute assorted wind-related statistics including the standard deviation of the wind direction.

New features

Block style comments

You can now do "block style" comments in NCL, using /; and ;/ to start and end a block:

    This is inside an NCL block style comment,
    available in NCL V6.4.0.

  print("A demonstration of block comments")

  print("This line should not be printed")
  print("...nor this one")
  print("...or this one")

NCL User Guide examples and data files included

All 100+ NCL User Guide (NUG) tutorial scripts and many of the required data files are included with NCL V6.4.0.

Look in the directories:


or use the "ng4ex" command to generate the full list or run any one of them individually:

  ng4ex -nug -list
  ng4ex NUG_curvilinear_basic

A complete set of scripts and data files can also be found online.

Labelbars with triangle ends

You can now generate labelbars with triangle ends instead of rectangle ends. See the lbBoxEndCapStyle resource mentioned in the new resources section, or examples lb_16.ncl, lb_17.ncl, gpm_1.ncl, and corel_3.ncl on the labelbar examples page.

Preloaded NCL scripts

Several NCL scripts are now preloaded, and you no longer need to explicitly load them at the top of your own scripts. Here's a full list of the preloaded scripts:


It's okay to still load these scripts even though it's no longer required.

In most cases you will not notice but loading these scripts does take a few tenths of a second. In certain situations where you want to run many very short scripts the resulting overhead may cause a significant slowdown of your work flow. For this case, a new command line option, '-s', allows you to start NCL without preloading any scripts.

Backwards-incompatible changes

The "MediumRes" map database will now be the default in some cases

This involves a change to the default value of the mpDataBaseVersion resource

This resource has a new default value of "Dynamic". This means that the "LowRes" database (the default in older versions of NCL) will be used, unless either of the boundary-set resources mpFillBoundarySets or mpOutlineBoundarySets are set to anything other than "Geophysical", in which case the "MediumRes" database will be used.

This behavior represents a balance between performance and accuracy for common use cases. For global-scale maps depicting just the continents and oceans, the LowRes database is more than sufficient, whereas the more detailed MediumRes database would incur additional compute overhead. However, the political boundaries of the MediumRes database are more up-to-date, and are thus favored if any political boundaries are to be drawn.

Click on the images below for a comparison with the previous version of NCL, and note the differences in the righmost panel. The left plot of both versions shows the default "LowRes" database. The right panel of NCL V6.3.0 still shows the "LowRes" database, while the right plot of NCL V6.4.0 automatically defaulted to "MediumRes"

Labelbar colors will now reflect opacity used in plot

The labelbar associated with filled contour and color vector plots will now reflect any opacity applied.

If this behavior is not desired, then set the new resource lbOverrideFillOpacity to True.

Click on the images below for a comparison with the previous version of NCL, and note the differences in the bottom labelbar.

Updated functions

  • betainc / gammainc - These functions no longer require that the input values be float or double.

  • calculate_monthly_values - This function no longer requires that the time dimension name be 'time'. Also, (i) the algorithm no longer assumes that the values are equally spaced in time; and (ii) the user may specify that a minimum number of observation be used for deriving a statistic.

  • cd_inv_calendar / ut_inv_calendar - These functions were enhanced to allow different numeric types for the input parameters and the return array. The return array will still default to type "double" unless the special attribute "return_type" is set to "float", "long", or "int". Read the function documentation for more details.

  • conform / conform_dims - These functions have been updated to more easily work on arrays with degenerate dimensions or arrays that are already the size you want to conform them to. This should simplify code where you may have had to check the rank of a variable before conforming it to another variable.

  • gsn_csm_xy - This function underwent a major overhaul to allow for horizontal curves and bars to be filled when gsnXRefLine is set. This is the same behavior that already existed for gsnYRefLine. See the bar chart page for several horizontal bar examples.

  • printMinMax - The "units" attribute, if present, is now added to the printed output.

  • regCoef / regCoef_n - These functions now return the y-intercept.

  • regline_stats - Added several new attributes related to 95% confidence limits of the slope and y-intercept, the mean responses, and the prediction limits. Examples of use were added to the regress/trend page. See: regress_1a.ncl, regress_1b.ncl, regress_1c.ncl and regress_3.ncl.

  • skewt_func - Added ability to change the thickness of the wind barbs.

  • trend_manken - Added recognition of the opt argument: if opt is set to True, then the trend is not calculated.

  • wrf_user_vert_interp - Added recognition of a new opt@time attribute that allows you to specify which time index was used to extract the variables for interpolation.

New resources

New example pages

New color table

The new default color table for matplotlib, MPL_viridis, was added, thanks to Brian Medeiros of NCAR.

File I/O Improvements

  • The "advanced" file system that supports groups and advanced data types is now the default for HDF5 and NetCDF4 data. The old HDF5 module that uses the standard file system is now deprecated and its use is not advised. HDFEOS5 still defaults to the standard file system (where groups names are appended to variable names to make them unique) because there are some remaining issues with the advanced version. The standard file system is also the default for NetCDF3 and NetCDF4 Classic Model files. While the setfileoption "FileStructure" option can still be used to explicitly switch between the "advanced" and "standard" file systems for certain formats (such as NetCDF3), it is now mostly unnecessary and it is anticipated that this option will soon become obsolete.

  • Support was added for CDF5, a NetCDF3 model variant developed at Argonne National Laboratory, that supports very large variables. Although CDF5 has a NetCDF3-like interface, NCL needs to use the advanced file system to access data in this format, primarily because it supports additional atomic types like unsigned and 64-bit integers.

  • The syntax for working with groups and variables within groups has been regularized as follows:
    • A variable in any group may be read from the top level without further qualification using the syntax:
      v = f->variable_name.
      If more than one variable with the same name exists in the file, the first one encountered will be returned. The search order is the same as the order returned by getfilevarnames.
    • A slash character ('/') is required as the first character naming a variable in a lower group:
      v = f->/group_name/variable_name
      This is needed to for backwards compatibility to disambiguate a reference to a variable in a file from a variable in a file divided (numerically) by a local variable (because NCL has never required spaces separating operators from the operands). The slash that follows directly after the "->" operator indicates that any other slashes prior to the next following space are separators between groups or between a group and a variable. This means that you do need a space prior to a slash meant for numerical division when a variable is specified using the initial slash character.
    • On the other hand, an initial slash is optional for referencing a group:
      g = f=>group1/group2
      works as well as
      g = f=>/group1/group2
    • If group or variable names contain characters, such as punctuation or white space characters, that are not allowed for NCL symbol names, the user can reference the group or variable using NCL string references or by substituting underscrore '_' characters in place of each character that is not allowed. Of course, it is possible that this substitution would lead to ambiguities. In that case, as with variables specified without fully qualifying paths, the first encountered group or variable will be returned.
    • NCL printing routines for the advanced file system always print the real names of variables with the actual characters used in the file.

  • Compound data can now be accessed either by individual component member or as a complete variable. Accessing by component relies on the dot ('.') character to separate the compound variable name from the member name. If using string referencing because either the variable name or the member contains disallowed characters, the complete name (everything following the "->" operator) should be quoted.

    Accessing a complete compound variable returns a varible of type list to NCL. Each individual component member becomes a list element. Outer dimensions (those applying to the compound variable as a whole) and inner dimensions (those applying to individual members) are combined to form the dimensionality of each element of the list.

  • Both ncl_convert2nc and ncl_filedump have been enhanced to accept filenames with spaces as parameters on the command line.

  • NCL can now read certain ECMWF GRIB1 files with records whose size is greater than 256^3, the largest size that can be specified in the conventional manner in a GRIB1 file. This was made possible due to some code borrowed from the wgrib tool. This code comes from ECMWF and uses an undocumented extension to allow for larger record sizes.

  • The HDF5 reference type is now supported at a basic level. HDF5 references are pointers to other variables in the same file. If an HDF5 reference is assigned to an NCL variable it is converted to the NCL string type. The string value will be the full path of the variable that is referenced.

  • Support for multiple unlimited dimensions in NetCDF4 and HDF5 has been improved.

  • HDF5 dimensions that are unnamed by HDF5 have a more robust naming scheme.

  • The NCEP GRIB1 and GRIB2 tables have been updated fairly recently.

  • NCL can now ususally figure out the format of files that have no extension. The only remaining confusion is distinguishing between NetCDF4 files and HDF5 files that are not NetCDF4.

  • To enhance performance, the caching of unlimited variable values was eliminated. Testing has shown that this has more or less effect depending on the file format and the size of the unlimited dimension, but it never caused a slow-down.

File I/O bugs fixed

  • Fixed a major bug in the GRIB1 code that resulted in some elements of the non-horizontal dimensions of a variable being presented in the wrong location in NCL's representation. This occurred in certain cases where one or more elements at the beginning of the affected dimension were missing. The code that sorts the records into their proper position was completely rewritten to fix this issue. An intended future benefit of this rewrite is to make it easier to add new dimensions as needed.

  • Fixed a bug where you couldn't read a NetCDF-4 variable that contains a '.' character; for example, "conc.instant_Cs137".

  • Fixed a bug where HDF5 strings in nested groups were not accessible.

  • Fixed a serious bug where opening an HDF5 file in "w" or "c" mode resulted in the original file being deleted. Now opening an HDF5 file works as expected in NCL.

  • Fixed a bug in which opening some HDF5 files with "new" file features (like groups, compound data, enum, etc) would cause a segmentation fault.

    A work-around for V6.3.0 is to call the following before you open the file:

      setfileoption("h5", "FileStructure", "Advanced") 

    or to use the "-f" option when running ncl:

      ncl -f myscript.ncl

  • Fixed a bug where deleting a group would delete parts of the file variable structure.

  • Fixed a bug that led to a segmentation fault when trying to read a variable from a NetCDF4 file opened in "w" mode.

  • Fixed a bug that resulted in a segmentation fault when re-writing string attributes to a NetCDF4 file, even if the attribute values were unmodified from their previous values in the file.

  • Fixed a segmentation fault that occurred when using fileattdef to create global attributes in a NetCDF4 file.

  • Fixed a problem that resulted in NCL reading a variable from the wrong group. Both variables had the same name, but the group traversing code was incorrect.

  • Fixed a problem with printing an HDF variable len variable that contained reference type variables.

  • Fixed a problem where scalar variables were given an improper dimension size and the dimension improperly labeled "unlimited" when first created in a NetCDF4 file.

  • Eliminated unnecessary warnings for the GRIB "curvilinear orthogonal grid".

  • Fixed a problem with JRA GRIB1 files where the names of certain variables was no longer correct because access to some local-to-JRA information was lost due to a faulty piece of code.

  • Fixed the HDF5 code to allow access to all the possible string types including variable length strings, fixed-size NULL byte filled (C-style), and fixed-size space filled (Fortran-style). This was implemented both for attributes and regular variables.

  • Fixed an issue where using the NCL dimension name operator (!) was returning the wrong dimension name for NetCDF4 files.

  • Fixed a seg fault with GRIB files that have what may or may not be a bogus negative time period. The time period is definitely negative. Whether or not this is bogus is not yet determined.

  • Fixed a seg fault that occurred when trying to access a non-existent variable attribute in a NetCDF4 file.

  • Fixed a problem with incorrect forecast times for certain ARPEGE GRIB2 files.

  • Fixed a problem using the list style delete syntax for deleting file variables and coordinate variables.

  • Added some GRIB 2 tables to allow decoding of non-standard MRMS data from NCEP.

  • addfile - Fixed a bug that limited file names to less than 256 characters.

  • addfiles - Fixed a bug with arbitrary subscripting of an aggregated dimension when the time units vary.

    Note that the time coordinate units attached to the first file in the file list is always used as the common unit. If other files in the list have earlier times than the common unit, they will be converted to negative values. They will still be correct (the correct date string can be obtained using the usual routines), but if the files in the list are not in chronological order, the following warning will be emitted:

    warning:Aggregated dimension coordinate values are non-monotonic; check aggregated file ordering

    Also fixed a subsequent issue with the coordinate values being calculated incorrectly and an issue where the aggregated dimension has no associated coordinate array.

  • fbinread / fbinwrite / fbindirread / fbindirwrite - Fixed a bug where these functions would fail if you tried to write more than 2 GB to a file.

  • write_table - Fixed a bug that didn't allow you to write logicals to a file.

Functions and procedures bugs fixed

  • advect_var - This function was incorrectly named in NCL V6.3.0. The correct name is advect_variable.

  • Fixed an issue with math functions like stddev where if a "ubyte" type was used, the _FillValue was ignored.

  • area_conserve_remap - Fixed a bug where if missing values were input for a 2D grid, then the output grid was not returning all missing values.

  • decimalPlaces - Fixed a bug to make this function round correctly.

  • dim_acumrun_n - Fixed a bug where this function was returning float output, even if integers were input. This function will now return the type that matches the type of the input array, except in the case of bytes or shorts, then integers will be returned.

  • dpres_plevel - Fixed a bug for a pathological case where if psfc and ptop are between levels, the function would fail.

  • ESMF_regrid - Fixed a bug where this function would sometimes produce an incorrect error about not having the correct number of triangles for the internal triangular mesh that it generates.

  • f2foshv_Wrap / fo2fshv_Wrap - Removed incorrect syntax that subtracted or added one to the size of the latitude arrays of uNew and vNew and prevented the functions from working at all.

  • gc_latlon - This function now uses a more general algorithm to hopefully prevent NaNs from being returned when input points are very close to each other.

  • generate_sample_indices - replaced the method used with a similar but more robust method.

  • int2p, int2p_n - Fixed a bug which occurred when the input and output pressure levels were not monotonically decreasing. The functions now work regardless of the input or output pressure level ordering.

  • kolsm2_n - Fixed a bug in which using multiple dimensions (for example, in the time dimension) would cause the results to be wrong.

  • pot_vort_isobaric - Andy Show (12/15) reported that the term [ R/(s*p) ] should be [ 1/s ].

  • rm_single_dims - Fixed a bug where dimension names of non coordinate variables would get removed from the output array.

  • stat_dispersion - Fixed a bug where setting the opt=True but not associating any attributes resulted in a fatal error.

  • table_attach_rows - Removed debugging print statements.

  • thornthwaite - This function will now exit more gracefully if time is not a multiple of 12. It will also allow a scalar time value.

  • trend_manken - Fixed bug in which passing a really large array (i.e. 400 MB) would cause this routine to hang and/or produce a segmentation fault. The issue was with the internal sorting algorithm used, which is required to calculate the trend. A new sorting algorithm was implemented, and also the option to not calculate the trend was added.

  • triple2grid - Fixed a bug where the output results were sometimes shifted by one pixel in both directions. The value for "domain" now defaults to 1 instead of 0.

  • wrf_map_resources - Fixed a bug in which rotated projection parameters were not always set correctly.

  • wrf_user_getvar - Fixed the following bugs:

    • "cape_2d" and "cape_3d" - Fixed a bug in which the PSFC variable was not being converted to hPa as required by these routines.

    • "ctt" (cloud top temperature)

      • This function now returns its values in degrees Celsius (it was previously returning them in degrees Kelvin). This is to stay consistent with other diagnostics that are returned in Celsius.
      • Fixed a bug where the pressure values were not being converted properly.
      • Fixed the interface to allow "ctt" to be calculated for multiple timesteps when used with addfiles.

    • "helicity" - Fixed the interface to allow helicity to be calculated for multiple timesteps.

    • "omg" (omega) - Fixed a bug in which the calculation was incorrectly using the temperature values for the water vapor mixing ratio, making the output results nonsensical.

Date conversion routines bugs fixed

  • calendar_decode2 - This function has been updated to call cd_calendar instead of ut_calendar. This helps address some issues found with the Udunits code, like the infamous 60 second bug mentioned in this document. There are still occasions where the 60 second bug may occur. If it does, try the temporary calendar_decode2_fix function.

  • cd_convert - This function was fixed to recognize the "calendar" attribute.

  • day_of_year / days_in_month / day_of_week / isleapyear - These functions now correctly set the _FillValue attribute if there are potentially missing values returned.

  • time_axis_labels - Fixed a bug where this function wasn't recognizing the "calendar" attribute.

  • New temporary date conversion routines introduced to address "60 second" bug

    Many users reported a "60 second" bug in several of NCL's date conversion routines, in which you get a value of "n minutes, 60 seconds" instead of "n+1 minutes, 0 seconds". See details in the example scripts below.

    In order to address this problem, several new date conversion routines have been temporarily introduced in NCL V6.4.0 to see if they are acceptable replacements for their original counterparts:

    These functions are all based on the Calcalcs, a software package created by David W. Pierce of UCSD, who is also the author of Ncview. An important note is that this software treats year 0 and year 1 separately.

    Here's a script that illustrates the "60 second" bug:

      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/contrib/calendar_decode2.ncl"
      time = 300
      time@units = "seconds since 2013-11-01 00:00:0.0"
      utx = ut_calendar(time,-5)
      cdx = cd_calendar(time,-5)
      cd2x = calendar_decode2(time,-5)
      print("time:             " + time)
      print("units:            " + time@units)
      print("ut_calendar:      " + str_join(""+utx,",")) 
      print("cd_calendar:      " + str_join(""+cdx,","))              
      print("calendar_decode2: "  + str_join(""+cd2x,","))              
      time = 876595
      time@units = "hours since 1901-01-01 00:00:00"
      time@calendar = "gregorian"
      utx := ut_calendar(time,-5)
      cdx := cd_calendar(time,-5)
      cd2x := calendar_decode2(time,-5)
      print("time:             " + time)
      print("units:            " + time@units)
      print("ut_calendar:      " + str_join(""+utx,",")) 
      print("cd_calendar:      " + str_join(""+cdx,","))              
      print("calendar_decode2: "  + str_join(""+cd2x,","))              
    The minutes/second (and sometimes hour) values are inconsistent across three similar routines. The blue text indicates the expected values, while the red text indicates the bug:

        time:             300
        units:            seconds since 2013-11-01 00:00:0.0
        ut_calendar:      2013,11,1,0,5,0
        cd_calendar:      2013,11,1,0,4,60
        calendar_decode2: 2013,11,1,0,4,60
        time:             876595
        units:            hours since 1901-01-01 00:00:00
        ut_calendar:      2000,12,31,18,59,60
        cd_calendar:      2000,12,31,19,0,0
        calendar_decode2: 2000,12,31,19,59,60
    The results aren't necessarily wrong, but they are not consistent. In general, the preference is to never get the value 60 for seconds.

    Here's a short script contributed by Jared Lee, that further illustrates the inconsistency using the cd_string and ut_string functions:

      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/contrib/cd_string.ncl"
      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/contrib/ut_string.ncl"
      do testSec = 0, 360, 60
         testSec@units = "seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00"
         print("testSec (cd_string) = "+testSec+" -> "+cd_string(testSec, "%N/%D/%Y, %H:%M:%S"))
         print("testSec (ut_string) = "+testSec+" -> "+ut_string(testSec, "%N/%D/%Y, %H:%M:%S"))
      end do

    The inconsistent values are noted in red:

         testSec (cd_string) =   0 -> 01/01/1970, 00:00:0
         testSec (ut_string) =   0 -> 01/01/1970, 00:00:00
         testSec (cd_string) =  60 -> 01/01/1970, 00:00:60
         testSec (ut_string) =  60 -> 01/01/1970, 00:01:00
         testSec (cd_string) = 120 -> 01/01/1970, 00:02:00
         testSec (ut_string) = 120 -> 01/01/1970, 00:02:00
         testSec (cd_string) = 180 -> 01/01/1970, 00:03:00
         testSec (ut_string) = 180 -> 01/01/1970, 00:03:00
         testSec (cd_string) = 240 -> 01/01/1970, 00:03:60
         testSec (ut_string) = 240 -> 01/01/1970, 00:04:00
         testSec (cd_string) = 300 -> 01/01/1970, 00:04:60
         testSec (ut_string) = 300 -> 01/01/1970, 00:05:00
         testSec (cd_string) = 360 -> 01/01/1970, 00:06:00
         testSec (ut_string) = 360 -> 01/01/1970, 00:06:00

    In an attempt to fix this problem, we searched for other calendar software packages, and found one called "Calcalcs", created by David W. Pierce of UCSD, who is also the author of Ncview. This software fixes the "60 second" bug, but it doesn't treat year 0 and year 1 as the same.

    Instead of replacing the buggy code in the cd_xxxx and ut_xxxx routines, we decided to create temporary new routines that use Calcalcs under the hood. We want users to get the chance to try them out before we make any decisions about what to do with all of the calendaring routines.

Graphics bugs fixed

  • The labelbar associated with filled contour and color vector plots will now reflect any transparency applied. See the section on Backwards-incompatible changes in 6.4.0 for more information.

  • Improved some issues with triangular meshes, which are used under the hood for contouring unstructured data. This included fixes for using triangular meshes with WRF and ICON data.

  • Fixed some issues where contour fill plots were missing small fill areas around the edges of the plot. These were most likely to occur when an axis was reversed and/or a logarithmic or irregular transformation was in effect.

  • Fixed an issue that resulting in a seg fault when using the "CurlyVector" mode for plotting vectors. This seg fault did not impact the graphics output but was annoying and could prevent continued work in the same script or interactive session.

  • Fixed a seg fault involving CellFill contouring using the TriangularGrid method.

  • Fixed a problem that led in some cases to the left half of a CylindricalEquidistant contour plot being left blank. The issue involved the boundary at the cyclic point of the map.

  • Fixed a bug where CellFill contouring wasn't recognizing the cnMissingValFillColor resource. This was reported in relation to plotting ICON data.

  • gsn_attach_plots - Fixed a bug where attaching plots along the X axis, when the Y axis labels weree of different sizes, the plots would be misaligned.

  • gsn_create_text - Fixed a bug which didn't allow for multiple text strings to be input, as advertised.

  • gsn_csm_pres_hgt_vector - Fixed a bug where this function didn't recognize pmLabelBarWidthF or pmLabelBarHeightF settings for controlling the size of the labelbar.

  • gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map / gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map / gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_ce / gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_polar - Fixed a bug in which you'd get a warning:

    warning:vcRefAnnoFontHeightF is not a valid resource in 
             gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_contour at this time

    and the vector reference annotation may have been larger than expected.

  • gsn_open_wks - Fixed a bug where NCL would fail if you used really long names (> 320 characters) for output graphics filenames.

  • gsn_panel - This function now allows you to set more resources to customize the panel labelbar, like lbLabelAlignment.

  • gsnYRefLine / gsnAboveYRefLineColor / gsnBelowYRefLineColor - Fixed a bug that didn't allow you to use a mix of scalar values or arrays for these resoures, if you had multiple curves.

  • pie_chart - Fixed a bug that caused an unnecessary fatal error:

    fatal:fspan: number of elements parameter is less-than-or-equal-to one, can't continue

Miscellaneous bugs fixed

  • Fixed a catastrophic failure that occurred if the "shea_util.ncl" script was loaded multiple times from the same script.

    Many users of ESMValTool reported not being able to use NCL V6.3.0 because it would seg fault. This was caused by a missing undef statement in the "shea_util.ncl" library for the "mreg_part_corr" function. This bug has been fixed and we've taken extra steps to make sure all the other loaded NCL scripts have "undef" statements before every function and procedure.

  • Fixed an issue where interactive NCL would not resume after a <ctrl>-z

    On Mac systems, if you ran ncl interactively and then typed <ctrl>-z, you couldn't resume ncl by typing "fg". This has been fixed.

  • Fixed a seg fault that occurred when you tried to use basic NCL syntax on plot variables.

    For example:

      wks = gsn_open_wks("x11","") ;; tested png and x11 both fail
      plots = new(5, graphic)
      do p=0,4
        plots(p) = gsn_csm_blank_plot(wks, res)
      end do
      plots = plots(::-1) ; seg fault would occur here

  • Fixed an issue with NCL failing after a very great many variables had been created. The code for growing the relevant data structure was at fault.

  • Fixed an incorrect warning from the function isfilepresent.

Miscellaneous improvements

  • Plotting unstructured or "random" data

    When using one of the gsn_csm_xxxx_map functions to plot unstructured or "random" data represented by one-dimensional lat/lon arrays, you can now attach these arrays as special attributes called "lat1d" and "lon1d" attributes to your data array, instead of having to set the sfXArray and sfYArray resources. This is similar to how the "lat2d" and "lon2d" attributes work for curvilinear data.

    For some examples, see the Plotting data on a map examples page.

  • Plotting WRF data

    If you plot WRF-ARW data using the gsn_csm_xxx scripts, you will no longer get these warning messages:

      warning:start_lat is not a valid resource in wrf_gsn_contour at this time
      warning:start_lon is not a valid resource in wrf_gsn_contour at this time
      warning:end_lat is not a valid resource in wrf_gsn_contour at this time
      warning:end_lon is not a valid resource in wrf_gsn_contour at this time
      warning:mpNestTime is not a valid resource in map at this time

    Note: you can safely ignore these warnings with older versions of NCL.

    You can now use cnFillPalette with wrf_contour without getting the following error:

    warning:ContourPlotSetValues: color index (255) exceeds size of palette,
            defaulting to foreground color for entry (11) 

  • wrf_user_getvar

    Overhauled this code to improve the handling of multiple timesteps, either in one WRF file or across multiple files.

  • Overhauled special "gsn" color resources to allow RGB/A entries

    Many of the special"gsn" Color resources now allow all types of color entries, including color index values, named colors ("red"), RGB values, and RGBA values. Use of RGBA allows you to make filled areas partially transparent.

    The updated resources include:

  • Default X11 window now larger

    When sending NCL graphics to an X11 window, the default size is now 1000 x 1000 (it was 512 x 512).

  • Colorado counties improved

    The Colorado counties in NCL's map database were updated to include Broomfield and the correct boundaries for existing counties. See example maponly_28.ncl.

  • Handling of constant and near-constant value fill updated

    Traditionally NCL has not been able to contour areas that have constant value when using the AreaFill method since it depended on the presence of at least one virtual contour line to decide that there was anything to draw. The problem included not only true constant value data, but also data where the only the area mapped into the viewport was constant, or where the data was not constant but fell entirely within two adjacent specified contour levels. Prior versions of NCL have included a work-around fix that often, but certainly not always, worked to allow these areas to be drawn with the proper color. This fix was activated by setting the resource cnConstFEnableFill True.

    Now a new and hopefully more robust solution to this issue has been implemented. For now, cnConstFEnableFill still needs to be set True only in the case of truly constant data. The intention is that within one or two releases the default for this resource will change from False to True, so that plots of constant data are always filled.

    Note that there are a few cases where fill of constant data still does not work. These are rare but mostly encountered when using a TriangularMesh grid for contouring.

    See example coneff_17.ncl.

Known issues

  • There's a bug in ncl_convert2nc that causes it to not work properly if you give it more than two files. This bug will be fixed in the next release of NCL. If you need the fix now, you can download this new version of ncl_convert2nc.

  • There are two bugs in the 6.4.0 version of gsn_csm_xy associated with adding an X or Y reference line(s):

    1. Drawing your curves with markers or markers and lines (xyMarkLineMode = "markers" or "marklines") - this causes extra markers to show up at locations where the X or Y reference line crosses your curve(s).

      [See this sample xyreflinebug.ncl script and image.]

    2. Drawing a different number of X and Y reference lines via gsnYRefLine and gsnXRefLine in one plot - this causes the following error message:

      fatal:Number of dimensions on right hand side do not match number of dimension in left hand side
      fatal:["Execute.c":8640]:Execute: Error occurred at or near line 6014 in file 

      [See this sample xyreflinesbug.ncl script and image.]

      To fix both problems, download this gsn_csm_640_fix.ncl script and load it from your own script after any other load commands.

    3. If you are running a script that panels XY plots and getting this error:

      fatal:Variable (mono_fill_scl) is undefined
      fatal:["Execute.c":8640]:Execute: Error occurred at or near line 6100 \
         in file $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl

      then the issue is that you are setting gsnPanelLabelBar to True, which is not recognized for XY plots. To fix, simply comment this resource setting or remove it.

Version 6.3.0

March 18, 2015

New functions

  • advect_var - Advect a variable horizontally: U*(dQ/dlon) + V*(dQ/dlat). This function was inadvertently advertised as advect_variable. The 6.3.1 release will support advect_variable name as an alias.

  • bw_bandpass_filter - Applies a butterworth bandpass filter optimized for narrow bandwidths to time series.

  • count_unique_values - Counts the number of unique values in the given array.

  • determinant - Calculates the determinant of a square real matrix.

  • ezfftf_n - Performs a Fourier analysis on a real periodic sequence on the given dimension.

    This is identical to ezfftf, except it allows you to specify the dimension of which to do the analysis on.

  • ezfftb_n - Performs a Fourier synthesis from real and imaginary coefficients on the given dimension.

    This is identical to ezfftb, except it allows you to specify the dimension of which to do the synthesis on.

  • draw_color_palette - Draws the given colors or color map as a series of filled boxes.

  • eofunc_north - Use North et al (MWR, 1982) equation 24 to evaluate eigenvalue separation.

  • fftshift - Rearranges an array in a manner similar to Matlab's fftshift function.

  • generate_sample_indices - Generate indices (subscripts) for resampling: with and without replacement.

  • get_unique_values - Returns the unique values of the given array.

  • New "gsm_csm_streamline_scalar_xxxx" routines were added
    (thanks to Alan Brammer of UAlbany for the contribution)

  • kmeans_as136 - Perform k-means clustering via the Hartigan and Wong AS-136 algorithm.

  • ListIndexFromName - Returns the index of a variable in a list given its name.

  • pot_temp - Computes potential temperatures.

  • pot_vort_hybrid - Computes potential vorticity on hybrid levels and a global grid.

  • pot_vort_isobaric - Computes potential vorticity on isobaric levels and a global grid.

  • str_match_ic_regex - Matches the given string against a list of strings using regular expression syntax (case insensitve).

  • str_match_ind_regex - Matches the given string against a list of strings using regular expression syntax (case sensitve) and returns index values.

  • str_match_ind_ic_regex - Matches the given string against a list of strings using regular expression syntax (case insensitve) and returns index values.

  • str_match_regex - Matches the given string against a list of strings using regular expression syntax (case sensitve).

  • static_stability - Computes static stability.

  • thornthwaite - Estimates the potential evapotranspiration (PET) via the Thornthwaite method.

  • trend_manken - Mann-Kendall non-parametric test for monotonic trend plus the Theil-Sen robust estimate of linear trend.

  • weibull - Derives the shape and scale parameters for the Weibull distribution via maximum likelihood estimates.

  • wrf_user_vert_interp - Vertically interpolates ARW WRF variables given the type of surface and a set of new levels.

Updated functions

  • dim_spi_n - Added second method for calculating SPI, by applying a type III Pearson distribution.

  • gsn_panel - Updated to recognize streamline plots, so you can panel multi-color streamline plots with a common labelbar.

  • wrf_user_getvar - a new "cloud top temperature" diagonistic was added ("ctt").

Potential backwards-incompatible changes

  • Change to gsnAddCyclic behavior - When plotting lat/lon data, a longitude cyclic point will not be added if you have a longitude coordinate array whose range is greater than 360. Previously, you would get a warning and potentially incorrect results:

        gsn_add_cyclic: Warning: The range of your longitude coordinate array is at least 360. 
        You may want to set gsnAddCyclic to False to avoid a warning 
        message from the spline function.

  • The behavior of polylines and polygons drawn over maps was modified slightly in order to avoid ambiguity concerning cyclic longitude values. Now map polylines and polygons always use the shortest path around the globe between any two points. (This is a possible backwards incompatibility for anyone who formerly drew a continuous circle around the globe using only 2 points (0 and 360). Now you must use 4 points to accomplish the same thing, e.g.: (0 120 240 0).


File I/O improvements

  • HDF5 reader - a number of improvements have been made to NCL's HDF5 reader to better handle:

    • dimension names
    • coordinate variables (if any)
    • the _FillValue attribute (which sometimes comes in as a string called "MissingCode")

  • Added a new setfileoption option called "KeepOpen" for fbinrecread to improve the efficiency of reading records in sequential order. This option is logically-valued and available for the "bin" format only. When finished reading the file the user must call fbinrecread once with "KeepOpen" set False in order to close the file.

  • Updated the existing ECMWF GRIB 1 tables and added 6 new ones: 213,214,215,217,218,219,220, and 221. (these are not yet documented in our docs). Also updated the NCEP GRIB1 tables and the NCEP GRIB2 code tables.

  • NCL now looks all the way through a file if necessary to find a valid GRIB record.

  • Fixed several memory management issues both for GRIB 1 and GRIB 2.

  • File list variable assignment from addfiles is now more tolerant of cases where one or more of the input files do not contain the variable specified. It no longer crashes, and instead gives an error like:

      A valid instance of variable HGT_P0_L100_GLL0 was not 
       found in one or more elements of the file list.

    If no files contain an instance of the variable, a fatal error is returned; otherwise it's a warning.

  • readAsciiTable has been made 'thread-safe' with the addition of code suggested by Kyle S. Griffin (University of Wisconsin - Madison). Daniel Leuenberger (Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss) contributed to the discussion.

Computational function improvements

  • MJO CLIVAR: Diagnostic mjoclivar_14.ncl

    • Will automatically determine the appropriate sign of the EOFs using an approach suggested by (Eun-Pa Lim, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research [CAWCR]). This was added on 20 October 2014.

    • Calculates the percent variance for each component in the multivariate EOF. The code segment was provided by Marcus N. Morgan (Florida Institute of Technology). This was added on 4 March 2015.

Graphical improvements

  • You can now set trLineInterpolation False for map plots in order to draw straight-edged polylines or polygons. This means there now are three options:

    1. res@trLineInterpolation = True (the default)

      Lines will be interpreted in the lat/lon coordinate space.

    2. res@mpGreatCircleLinesOn = True and res@trLineInterpolation = True

      Lines will follow a great circle path.

    3. res@trLineInterpolation = False

      Lines between points will appear straight in the projected space.

  • Large triangular meshes (greater than approximately 40,000,000 triangles) no longer fail due to limits implicit in the Shewchuck Triangle code. Now when meshes exceeding this limit are encounterd, the mesh is decomposed into 2 or more tiles which are triangulated separately. Along with this were some major performance enhancements.

  • Support for OpenMP raster graphics has been improved, such that this capability is at better than beta level reliability. Note that support for OpenMP relies on the same tiling mechanism used to handle large meshes. OpenMP now can be used with any map projection, and the artifacts, including visible lines between the tiles, have been eliminated. See the entry in the 6.2.0 release notes for notes on how to use the OpenMP capability.

Miscellaneous improvements

  • Any numeric type can now be used for coordinate subscripting; subscripts no longer need to be the same type as the coordinate variable.

New color table

A small color table was added with two whites in the middle: BlAqGrWh2YeOrReVi22.

Bugs fixed

  • MJO CLIVAR: Diagnostic mjoclivar_16.ncl phase composites were off by half a cycle. This has been corrected. This is immediately available for download as of 20 October 2014.

  • bin_avg / bin_sum - fixed a bug where the binning was done incorrectly if the observation locations were outside the region spanned by the user provided grid. These functions weren't explicitly checking for this situation.

  • delete - fixed a problem with deleting coordinate arrays in a list-type argument.

  • dewtemp_trh - fixed a bug where if rh was < 0.0, then a NaN (not-a-number) was returned. The function now returns a missing value.

  • dim_avg_wgt_n / dim_sum_wgt_n - fixed a bug where the return value had no dimensionality (0 bytes) if "x" was a 1D array.

  • dim_sum_wgt / dim_sum_wgt_n - fixed a bug where if "opt" was 0 and there were missing values in the input array, then a non-missing value was being returned. According to the documentation, a missing value should have been returned instead.

  • ESMF_regrid - fixed a bug where if the "neareststod" or "nearestdtos" interpolation methods were used, the "remap" attribute attached to the regridded variable still said "bilinear".

    The "remap" attribute now uses the "ESMF_regrid_method" attribute attached to the weights file, and hence will be more verbose than it previously was.


      remap : remapped via ESMF_regrid_with_weights: patch
      remap : remapped via ESMF_regrid_with_weights: conserve


      remap : remapped via ESMF_regrid_with_weights: Higher-order Patch
      remap : remapped via ESMF_regrid_with_weights: First-order Conservative
  • gsn_merge_colormaps - this function gives you a warning if you try to merge two colormaps.

      Warning: namedcolor2rgb: 'gsdtol' is not a valid named color.
      Will return missing values for this color.

    Despite this warning, the function still works as advertised. This warning has been removed in V6.3.0.

  • stat_dispersion - The second returned element returned was the sample variance and not the sample standard deviation as is documented. In 6.3.0, the sample standard deviation will be returned.

  • svd_lapack - Fixed a memory leak. Results were not affected.

  • ListPop - fixed a bug when pop an unnamed variable (or value) from a list.

  • Fixed a problem with CellFill plotting when using the mpFreeAspect parameter. Cells that were specially drawn to fill in the edges of the plot were not appearing in the correct location. Now it works as expected and most of the special handling was able to be removed.

  • Fixed a problem with HDFEOS5 attributes where they were all being processed as string types whether or not they really were.

  • Fixed a problem where non-geographic 2D plots were not being drawn correctly. The "Spherical" transformation was incorrectly being used for all types of 2D coordinate overlays, when the more general "Curvilinear" transformation should have been employed.

  • Fixed a problem with tickmark formatting where numbers that should have become zero, given the number of significant digits, were instead set to small decimal values with lots of zeros,

Known bugs

  • If you try to execute NCL on a system where there are no user home directories, then you may run into an issue where it's looking for a "~/.hluresfile" file.

    As a work-around, a system administrator can create a blank file called "hluresfile", put it wherever he/she wants (for example, $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg), and then have every user set the NCARG_USRRESFILE environment variable to point this dummy file:

    export NCARG_USRRESFILE=$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/hluresfile
  • cd_calendar - there is a potential rounding bug in this routine if you have a units of "minutes since" or "seconds since". It sometimes causes the minutes/seconds to be returned as something like "0/60" (0 minutes/60 seconds) rather than "1/0" (1 minute/0 seconds). We have an email in to the developers of this code, but until we get a fix, you can use ut_calendar as a work-around, if you are using a "standard" calendar.

  • kolsm2_n - Fixed bug in which using multiple dimensions (for example, in the time dimension) would cause the results to be wrong. Please visit the documentation for this function for more details and a work-around. This has been fixed for NCL Version 6.3.1.

  • For HDF5 files with variables within "groups", the use of addfiles with ListSetType (f, "join") does not work. The default mode where ListSetType (f, "cat") does work.

Version 6.2.1

September 2, 2014

Backwards-incompatible changes

  • isfilepresent - This function has been updated to behave as originally intended: as companion test for checking if a file exists before trying to open it with addfile.

    To check for the existence of any file, regardless of what kind of file it is, use the new fileexists function.

  • circular_1.rgb / circular_2.rgb - The RGB tables have been altered to provide more color differentiation in the 'green' colors. For example, in circular_1.rgb:

              # R    G    B
                255    0    0     red
                255  125    0     orange
                255  255    0     yellow
                125  255    0     spring green
                  0  255    0     green                ==> 102  204    0  ; new color
                  0  255  125     turquoise            ==> 102  255  178  ; new color
                  0  255  255     cyan
                  0  125  255     ocean
                  0    0  255     blue
                125    0  255     violet
                255    0  255     magenta
                255    0  125     raspberry

New functions

  • dim_acumrun_n - Calculates individual accumulated sums of sequences ('runs') of a specified length.

  • escorc_n - Computes sample cross-correlations at lag 0 only, across the given dimensions.

  • fileexists - Checks for existence of any UNIX file.

  • pdfxy_conform - An interface to pdfxy that allows the input arrays to be different sizes.

  • regCoef_n - Calculates the linear regression coefficient between two variables on the given dimensions.

Updated functions

  • ESMF_regrid / ESMF_regrid_gen_weights

    Options added:

    • "NetCDF4" - If set to True, then the intermediate source/destination description files and the weights file will be written as NetCDF-4 files (instead of NetCDF-3).

    • "NoPETLog" - If set to True, then the "PET0.RegridWeightGen.Log" file will not be generated.]

    • "Check" - If set to True, then extra analytic output will be computed and printed, including the mean relative error between the destination and analytic field, and the relative error between the mass of the source and destination fields in the conservative case.

  • gsn_contour_shade - this function was updated to allow RGB or RGBA values to be used for the gsnShadeLow, gsnShadeMid, or gsnShadeHigh resources.

  • isfilepresent - see note above in the backwards-incompatible changes section.

  • smthClmDayTLL and smthClmDayTLLL - Made these functions less restrictive; they now work on daily SST data which have _FillValue over land.

  • taper / taper_n - added an option to allow the series to be tapered to 0.0. These functions currently only taper to the series mean.

Bugs fixed

  • Fixed a serious bug where assigning a variable as an attribute of another variable caused the original variable's _FillValue to be modified.

    Here's a sample script that demonstrates the problem in V6.2.0:

      x = new (2, float)
      print("any(ismissing(x)) should be True")
      print("  actual value is " + any(ismissing(x)))
    ;---Assign "x" as an attribute of "y"
      y   = True
      y@x = x
      print("any(ismissing(x)) should be True")
      print("  actual value is " + any(ismissing(x)))  ; will be False in V6.2.0

  • fspan - fixed a bug where if you inputted 1 for the third argument (the number of points to return), this function was returning a single value equal to 0. This function now prints an error for anything less than 2 points.

  • gsn_contour_shade - this function was fixed so it doesn't fail if "gsnShadeMid" is set, but only one contour level is found between the low and high values input.

  • mixhum_ptrh - a bug was fixed in which negative "iswhit" values were not being properly recognized.

  • month_to_annual_weighted - fixed error related to the calendar attribute. It referred to "yyyymmdd" when it should have referred to "yyyymm".

  • pdfxy - Fixed 'y' bounding box boundary error discovered by Maria Gehne (NOAA/CIRES). Specifically:
            binyBound(nbinsy) = binxBound(nbinsy) + epsy*binyBound(nbinsy)
            binyBound(nbinsy) = binyBound(nbinsy) + epsy*binyBound(nbinsy)

  • yyyymmddhh_to_yyyyfrac - fixed error related to the calendar attribute. It referred to "yyyymmdd" when it should have referred to "yyyymmddhh".

  • uv2dv_cfd - a bug (brought to out attention by Wei-Jen Tseng) was fixed when extrapolating values to the lower boundary.
            x(ml,nl) = (2.d0*x(ml,nl-2)-x(ml,nl-2)+2.d0*x(ml-1,nl)-x(ml-2,nl))*0.5d0 
            x(ml,nl) = (2.d0*x(ml,nl-1)-x(ml,nl-2)+2.d0*x(ml-1,nl)-x(ml-2,nl))*0.5d0

  • A bug was fixed when trying to write a single string variable to a NetCDF-4 file.

  • wallClockElapseTime - minor fix to have "date" returned in the correct format expected.

  • The GRIB2 reader was updated to recognize the level information for records with Product Definition Template (PDT) numbers greater than 14. The PDT number is the first value in the quadruple value of the GRIB2 variable attribute "parameter_template_discipline_category_number". The result of this fix is that a level dimension may be present where previously none appeared because the various level records were seen as duplicates. Also the name of the variable will be different to account for the level type. For example, where a variable in an affected file prior to the fix had the name, 'CAT_P15_GLL0_max' and 2 dimensions (lat_0, lon_0), it now has the name 'CAT_P15_L100_GLL0_avg' and 3 dimensions (lv_ISBL0, lat_0, lon_0).

  • The GRIB2 reader's handling of forecast time units of a month or more was improved to more accuractely compute the forecast time dimension values. In certain cases, this fixes a problem that led to fewer elements along the forecast time dimension than there should have been.

  • A bug fixed to allow NCL recognizing string coordinate variable.

Version 6.2.0

April 2, 2014

Potential backwards-incompatible changes

  • Significant change to raster contouring

    There are two important things to know about with regard to raster contouring:

    1. Raster contouring now supports transparency. This means that missing value areas will now be transparent rather than filled in the background color.

      If you are drawing raster contours over maps and have missing values in your data, you may now see gray-filled missing value areas instead of white-filled areas. This is not a bug. :-)

      This is because any gray-filled land that was underneath the missing value areas will now be visible. If this is undesired, set:

         res@cnMissingValFillColor = "white"

      Click on the following images for a "before" and "after" example of how this might look:

      Version 6.1.2 Version 6.2.0

    2. If you are sending your graphics to a PostScript file and seeing horizontal rows of cells that seem wrong, then this is likely a bug in the tool you're using to display the PS file.

      Graphics display tools like gv, gs, evince, and ImageMagick's display depend on ghostscript; older versions of ghostscript have a bug that is sometimes triggered by raster graphics containing transparent cells output to PostScript. This bug was fixed sometime between versions 8.70 and 9.06 of ghostscript. Updating your version of ghostscript should fix this issue.

  • Printing double-precision values

    You will see more precision when printing doubles with functions like print. This could cause a problem if you are using print or other printing functions to write to ASCII files, where you are expecting a certain precision.

    For example the following 2-line code:

      d = -62.02990341186519d
      print("d = " + d)

    will produce the following output:

    Version 6.2.0:

        d = -62.02990341186519d

    Version 6.1.2 and older:

        d = -62.0299

  • Automatic loading of scripts

    You no longer need to include these load commands at the top of your NCL script:

      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl"
      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_csm.ncl"
      load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/contributed.ncl"

    Your scripts will still work if you load these scripts, so you may not want to remove them if you need older versions of NCL to still work.

    There's a bug where if you try to load these scripts after the "begin" command:

    load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/contributed.ncl"

    We recommend in general that you load these scripts before the "begin" command.

  • Changes to str_match behavior

    The str_match family of functions:

    now only match literal occurrences of the sub-string expression argument and no longer recognize regular expression syntax. This is how these functions have always been documented. Recognition of regular expressions required the user to escape special characters such as '*', '[', and '?' with a '\' character. This behavior was confusing to many users and was more complicated than initially intended for these functions. In the future, we hope to introduce other functions for matching using regular expressions.

  • Changes to map drawing behavior

    Previously, drawing a polyline around the equator, for example, could be specified using 2 element arrays in X (0.0, 360.0) and Y (0.0, 0.0). Now, however, in order to eliminate a number of ambiguous situations and to make user code simpler in most cases, a new behavior has been introduced: the line between 2 points on the globe always follows the shortest path. In the example above, the new behavior leads to a 0-length line. Now the recommended approach for drawing a line around the equator is to use four points, such that the distance from one to the next is always less than 180 degrees. For example you could use longitudes (0.0, 120.0, 240.0, 360.0).

    It is possible to use only three points with longitude (0.0, 180.0, 360.0), owing to the rule for distances that are exactly 180 degrees apart: in this case, with valid longitudes values ranging from -540 to +540, the line extends from the lower longitude in the direction of increasing longitude values.

    This new behavior should considerably simplify the code required to ensure that lines crossing the prime meridian follow the desired trajectory. It applies as well to polygons.

Improvements to NetCDF, HDF, and GRIB readers

  • Numerous improvements and bug fixes have been made to the NetCDF-4 file I/O:

    1. Fixed issues with writing NetCDF4Classic files.
    2. Fixed issues with reading multiple NetCDF4 files.
    3. Fixed issues handling groups with special characters.
    4. addfiles now works on NetCDF4 files.
  • Variables read off HDF-EOS2 files will now have all the metadata included, without having to first read the file as an HDF file, and then as an HDF-EOS file.

  • GRIB improvements:

    1. Implemented support for reading GRIB2 files that are greater than 2GB in size. (Support for reading files larger than 2GB has been available for GRIB1 files for a number of years.)

    2. If a center id is not recognized, NCL still gives a warning but the center attribute will be set to "unknown", rather than eliminating the attribute.

    3. The sub_center attribute was incorrectly giving the name of NCEP sub-centers for centers other than NCEP. One non-NCEP subcenter is explcitly recognized: the Max Plank Institute for Meterology. When there is no information to identify a subcenter, the id number (converted to a string) is given as the sub_center value, unless it is 0 or 255, which means there is no sub_center, in which case the sub_center attribute is not generated.

    4. NCL was crashing if a text version of a parameter table was specified using the NCL_GRIB_PTABLE_PATH, but the file contained no header line (4 colon-separated numbers starting with -1).

      This has been fixed, and now a warning about an invalid ptable file is issued.

    5. NCL now gives NCEP table 2 values for parameters above 127 in cases where it does not recognize a valid parameter table / center combination. A warning is still issued for these parameters.

    6. Some updates to the NCEP sub-center description strings, based on the current docs at the NCEP GRIB site.

    7. An attribute called "generating_process_type" is now conditionally added to distinguish variables in GRIB2 files with otherwise identical metadata. In this situation the variable names are only distinguished with the addition of a suffix '_n', where 'n' is an integer. This was necessary to properly decode certain NCEP RTMA (Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis) products.

    8. Fix for problem of improperly separating variables in certain ECMWF ERA files based on faulty comparison of their Grid Description Sections.

    9. Fix for problem of excessive memory growth when using addfiles to read many GRIB files.

    10. Added a new naming convention and a new set of attributes to handle GRIB1 variables with "time period indicators" greater than 50. These indicate various types of statistical processing. Low numbered values of this indicator continue to be represented with string suffixes such as "_avg" and "acc", but the higher numbered values have more verbose descriptions. They are distinguished with a new suffix '_Sn', where n is the 2 or 3 digit number of the time period indicator. Attributes have been added to describe the statistical process, including "statistical_process_descriptor", "statistical_process_duration", and "N". "N" indicates the number of inputs to the statistical process used, and may be an array if the N varies, for example in monthly averages due to the different number of days in each month.

    11. Implemented support for JRA55 (Japanese 55-year reanalysis project). This required supporting alternate definitions for certain level types and statistical processes where the JRA55 has local definitions that are different the NCEP definitions.

    12. Added support for GRIB1 parameter tables from the Max Planck Institute for Meterology: tables 128, 180, 181, 199.

    13. Fixed a problem that occurred when the first record of a variable is missing.

Contouring improvements

  • See the above section on a significant change to raster contouring.

  • There are significant improvements to the speed of raster contouring.

  • There is alpha-level support for using OpenMP to generated raster graphics using multiple threads. Currently availablity is limited to graphics generated by using 1D values for the resources sfDataArray, sfXArray, and sfYArray and not setting sfXCellBounds, sfYCellBounds, or sfElementNodes. Set the environment variable "OMP_NUM_THREADS" to a number greater than one to activate this capability. Currently using more than 9 or so threads sometimes causes artifacts to appear in the plot. Also using map projections other than cylindrical equidistant may result in lines appearing at the edge of the blocks assigned to each thread.

  • The CellFill contouring method can now render data on unstructured grids, including triangular grids, quadrilateral grids such as HOMME, and geodesic grids with 5, 6, or more sided cells. The outlines of each cell can be rendered by setting the resource cnCellFillEdgeColor to a non-transparent color. The user must specify the cell vertices using the resources sfXCellBounds and sfYCellBounds. Also to avoid errors, the resources sfXArray and sfYArray must be specified. However, this requirement will be eliminated in the future.

  • In most cases, users can now have constant or near-constant fields rendered as a filled area, rather than having the contoured area remain blank. In order to activate this behavior, set the newly implemented resource, cnConstFEnableFill, to True. By default, the constant field informational text box will still appear; turn it off by setting cnConstFLabelOn to False. In the future, cnConstFEnableFill will likely default to True, with cnConstFLabelOn defaulting to False unless contour line drawing is enabled.

  • Better error reporting in situations where out-of-range (lat-lon) coordinate values cannot be handled. The error message suggests a possible fix for the problem: switching to use of the triangular mesh algorithm for plotting.

Significant improvements to the speed of drawing shapefile polylines or polygons

The gsn_add_shapefile_polylines and gsn_add_shapefile_polygons functions were significantly sped up via the use of a new resource called gsSegments. Previously, an object was created for every segment added, which could cause thousands of objects to be created. Now, only one object is created.

We saw speed ups of 80 times faster in the case of drawing the France "Fra_adm5.shp" shapefile from which has 37,188 polyline segments.

Note, too, that the use of these two functions is not really needed, since attaching shapefile polylines and polygons is now simplified. The following two segments of code are identical, assuming "plot" is some map plot that you want to attach shapefile polylines or polygons to:

Method 1:

  f = addfile("file.shp","r")
  lnres             = True
  lnres@gsLineColor = "NavyBlue"
  lnres@gsSegments  = f->segments(:,0)
  poly = gsn_add_polyline(wks, plot, f->x, f->y, lnres)

Method 2:

  lnres             = True
  lnres@gsLineColor = "NavyBlue"
  polyid = gsn_add_shapefile_polylines(wks,plot,"file.shp",lnres)

Improvements to ESMF regridding routines

  • Two new interpolation methods have been added: "neareststod" and "nearestdtos".

  • When regridding to or from an unstructured grid, a triangular mesh is generated internally by NCL. This can be a slow and memory intensive operation, so a new option was added to allow the user to input their own triangular mesh via SrcTriangularMesh or DstTriangularMesh.

  • Large file (opt@LargeFile=True) support is now turned on by default.

  • ESMF_regrid / ESMF_regrid_gen_weights - A bug was fixed in which the "pole" option was only being recognized if you set it as "pole" and not "Pole".

Improvement to "thin line" graphical issue

On rare occasions, plots from postscript, pdf, or SVG workstations may exhibit faint, light-colored gaps between adjacent filled regions. The effect is most noticeable when the regions are of the same color, and share a long, straight boundary. This artifact is believed to be caused by a bug in the underlying cairographics library. The problem has been reported to them.

We've improved the appearance of the plots by implementing a temporary internal work-around for NCL V6.2.0. See the two sets of images below for comparison (click on either thumbnail to see the problem more clearly.)

The first set of images is a modified version of the "ng4ex" example "cn05n". The second set of images were generated by this map_thin_line.ncl script.

New Functions

  • area_poly_sphere - Finds the area enclosed by an arbitrary polygon on the sphere.

  • calculate_monthly_values - Calculate monthly values [avg, sum, min, max] from high frequency temporal values.

  • kolsm2_n - Test if two samples are compatible with coming from the same distribution using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov two sample test.

  • lspoly_n - This function is the same as lspoly, except it allows you to provide a dimension on which to calculate a set of coefficients for a weighted least squares polynomial fit to the given data. lspoly always operates on the rightmost dimension.

    See the "bugs fixed" section below about a bug fix to lspoly.

  • omega_to_w - Convert omega vertical velocity (Pa/s) to (m/s).

  • print_clock - Prints the given string along with a current timestamp.

  • reg_multlin_stats - Performs multiple linear regression analysis including confidence estimates and creates an ANOVA table. This is a driver which invokes the builtin reg_multlin function. It is the preferred function for performing multiple linear regression.

  • regline_stats - Performs simple linear regression analysis including confidence estimates and creates an ANOVA table. It is the preferred function for performing simple linear regression.

  • w_to_omega - Convert w vertical velocity (m/s) to (Pa/s).

  • New WRF functions:
    • wrf_omega - Calculates approximate omega, based on vertical velocity, water vapor mixing ratio, temperature, and pressure.

    • wrf_virtual_temp - Calculates virtual temperature, given temperature and mixing ratio.

    • wrf_wetbulb - Calculates wet bulb temperature, given pressure, temperature, and water vapor mixing ratio.

  • New color-related functions:
    • color_index_to_rgba - Converts one or more absolute color index values into its equivalent RGBA quadruplet. This is useful for discovering the RGBA values encoded into the high-numbered integers that may be returned from performing a getvalues call for a color-related resource such as cnFillColors. Note this function does not currently work for color indexes less than 256 that are dependent on the setting of wkColorMap.

    • get_color_index - Chooses a color index for a scalar value, given a color map and a range of values.

    • get_color_rgba - Chooses an RGB triplet or RGBA quadruplet for a scalar value, given a color map and a range of values.

    • namedcolor2rgba - Returns the RGBA quadruplets of the given list of named colors.

    • rgba_to_color_index - Converts one or more RGBA quadruplets into its equivalent absolute color index.

    • span_color_indexes - Given the number of desired color values, return an array of indexes that nicely span the given color map.

    • span_color_rgba - Given the number of desired color values, return an array of RGB triplets or RGBA quadruplets that nicely span the given color map.

New graphical resources

  • cnConstFEnableFill - Setting this to True will force constant contour fields, or fields that fall between two contour levels, to be filled in the appropriate color or shaded pattern.

  • gsnCenterStringFuncCode, gsnLeftStringFuncCode, gsnRightStringFuncCode, gsnStringFuncCode - resources for setting the function code character for the three subtitles at the top of a plot.

  • gsnXYBarChartFillDotSizeF - increases the dot size in stipple-filled bar charts.

  • gsnXYBarChartFillLineThicknessF - increases the thickness of lines in a pattern-filled bar chart.

  • gsnXYBarChartFillScaleF - changes the fill scale for pattern-filled bar charts.

  • gsnXYBarChartFillOpacityF - sets the opacity for solid-filled bar charts.

  • gsnXYFillOpacities - sets an array of opacities for solid-filled bar charts which corresponds with the gsnXYFillColors array.

  • gsColors - This resource allows you to set an array of fill or line colors for polygons or line segments being attached to a plot via the new gsSegments resource.

  • gsSegments - This resource allows you specify the start and end of line or polygon segments via one large array. Using this resource can significantly speed up code (we saw one script run 80 times faster) that is adding thousands of segments to a plot. It is only available with polyline and polygon drawing codes like gsn_add_polyline and gsn_add_polygon.

  • mpPolyMode - This new resource takes three possible values: "StandardPoly", "FastPoly", and "AutoPoly". It should be used to set what method to use when adding polygons to a map plot.

    The default is "AutoPoly", meaning that the drawing code decides which type of polygon to draw based on the great circle distance of each component line segment, and on the polygon's graphic style attributes. If the great circle distance of any component line segment is greater than 10 degress or if any fill pattern other than solid is in effect, the "standard" method that was used in NCL versions 6.1.2 and earlier is used. Otherwise a faster method introduced in version 6.2.0 is used. The faster method may sometimes fail for polygons that have complicated crossing with the visible edges of curvilinear map projections.

  • lbBoxSeparatorLinesOn - Setting this resource False allows you to have a perimeter line drawn around the "bar" of the LabelBar without having lines separating each component box within the bar.

New graphical output format

The "SVG" format is now supported in NCL. It can be used with gsn_open_wks in the same way as other formats like "png" and "pdf":

   wks = gsn_open_wks("svg","example")      ; Will create "example.svg"

New color tables

Over 120 new color tables were added to NCL. You can view and download these color tables now via the color table gallery. Special thanks to Nicolas Barrier of Laboratoire de Physique des Océans, Melissa Bukovsky of NCAR, and Carl Schreck of Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites - North Carolina for contributing these tables, which came from ColorBrewer, GMT, GrADS, matplotlib, and Ncview.

Library for generating KML output from NCL

NCL_GETools is a library for generating KML output with NCL. It was developed by Mohammad Abouali during the summer 2013 SIParCS internship program. The library is being made available on a preliminary basis to gauge user interest and to gather further use-cases and requirements.

Updated functions

Bugs fixed

  • A bug was fixed where byte value were being printed in hexadecimal format instead of decimal format, when using print.

  • addfiles: if the aggregated time coordinate has different units in the individual aggregated files, the values are now adjusted to conform to the units of the first file in the aggregation.
  • ESMF_regrid / ESMF_regrid_gen_weights - - See ESMF Regridding improvements above.

  • ezfftf / ezfftb - A bug was fixed for the case where the number of points is odd.

  • covcorm - A bug was fixed in which "iopt" behaved the opposite of how it was described in the documentation:

    • iopt=(/0,1/) behaves as if you had set iopt=(/1,0/)
    • iopt=(/1,0/) behaves as if you had set iopt=(/0,1/)
    • iopt=(/0,0/) or (/1,1/) works as described

  • gsn_contour_shade - A bug was fixed that didn't allow you to use the gsnShadeHigh, gsnShadeMid, and gsnShadeLow resources together.

  • lspoly - This function was failing in certain cases where the input data were "scaled" down. We decided to replace this routine with a SLATEC version. It takes the same arguments, but uses a different algorithm under the hood. You can get the "old" (pre NCL V6.2.0) version of lspoly by using "lspoly_old", but we don't recommend it for regular use.

  • pdfxy - Fixed a bug in which values that exactly matched the rightmost edge of the rightmost bin were not getting counted. There should be minimal effect on user results.

  • poisson_grid_fill - Fixed a bug that when the data are cyclic, the leftmost boundary index was off-by-one. The bug will have little or no impact on most users.

  • read_colormap_file - This function now works on any NCL color map (previously, it only worked on *.rgb color maps in $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/colormaps).

  • relhum - A bug was fixed in which all variables had to have the _FillValue attribute if any one of the input variables had an _FillValue attribute. Note that there is a potential incompatible change with this fix. The return missing value is now whatever the default missing value is for the type being returned, and *not* the _FillValue associated with the input variable 't', as it was in the past.

  • stat_dispersion - Fixed a bug that caused this function to fail when large arrays contained lots or all missing values.

  • str_split_csv - A bug was fixed in which if you had a mix of commas and quotes, the fields were not parsed properly.

  • wrf_map_overlays - A bug was fixed to correctly plot rotated lat-lon grids.

Change in HDF4 build instructions

If you are planning to build NCL V6.2.0 from source code, then take note that there's a change in where it expects to find the HDF4 include files.

Previously, you had to install them to an "hdf" subdirectory via a special "--includedir" option on the "configure" line. This is no longer required. This means if you are linking against previously-compiled versions of HDF4, you may need to move the include files out of "/xxxx/include/hdf" to "/xxxx/include".

Version 6.1.1 / Version 6.1.2

February 4, 2013 / February 7, 2013

Note: almost immediately after V6.1.1 was released, a few users reported a bug that warranted a V6.1.2 release immediately. For more information, see the discussion below on the wsMaximizeSize resource.

Since V6.1.1 had a number of new features, we will include the "what's new" for V6.1.1. V6.1.2 is a bug fix release only and doesn't contain any new features.

New reassignment operator

There's a new operator, ":=", that allows you to reassign variables without having to delete them first.
For example:

   x = fspan(-10.5,20.8,0.1)    ; array of floats
;  x = "This is a string"       ; this won't work
   x := "This is a string"      ; single string

This operator works for attributes as well, but not for coordinate arrays.

New functions

  • covcorm_xy - Calculates a covariance or correlation matrix given two separate arrays.

  • dgeevx_lapack - Given a square (N,N) real non-symmetric matrix, compute the eigenvalues and, optionally, the left and/or right eigenvectors via the LAPACK subroutine dgeevx.

  • get_isolines - Retrieves the points that define a contour line.

  • totype - Converts values of any snumeric data type or string to values of the given type.

New color tables

Joe Grim of NCAR/RAL contributed three new color tables to help colleagues who have difficulty discerning colors.

You can download these tables now and use them. Click on the "download now" link of the desired table, and then go to the "Move file to appropriate directory" section of the "create your own color table" page for information on adding this new table to your current version of NCL.

(download now)
(download now)
(download now)

Better support for NetCDF-4 files

Support for NetCDF-4 files is in beta-testing in V6.1.1.
We encourage people to test it out and give us feedback on our ncl-talk email list.

A number of improvements were made to NCL's "advanced file structure" that was added in V6.1.0 to address new data features in NetCDF-4, like groups, compound data types, variable length arrays, and multiple unlimited dimensions. There are some examples of these new features on the "Write to NetCDF" section of the examples page.

File input/output improvements

  • Improved the handling of record marker sizes when reading/writing Fortran binary files. You can now specify the record marker size by setting the "RecordMarkerSize" parameter in a call to setfileoption

  • Added support for GRIB1 GDS grid 205, described as "Arakawa Non-E Staggered rotated Latitude/Longitude Grid".

File input/output bugs fixed

  • Several NetCDF bugs were fixed (in reference to NetCDF-4 files, and not NetCDF "classic" files, which have worked as they always have):

    1. Writing an undefined variable directly to a file.
    2. Writing a scalar to a file.
    3. Printing a variable's attribute when it is double.
    4. Adding global attributes to an existing file.
    5. If two files are opened, where the first one is NetCDF3 and second one is NetCDF4, then there was a problem operating on the first file.

Function and procedure bugs fixed

  • dtrend_quadratic_msg_n - The "remove_mean" parameter was behaving the opposite of what the documentation states. This has been fixed.

  • reshape / reshape_ind - The first argument was unnecessarily being restricted to "numeric". It now works with strings.

  • rgrid2rcm_Wrap - Fixed two bugs: (a) the argument sequence was incorrect, and (b) a named dimension was corrected.

  • str_split_by_length - Fixed bug with where a string terminator wasn't properly added, if the string didn't split into nice even chunks.

Graphical bugs fixed

Known issues with version 6.1.1

  • There's a bug in this version of NCL that can cause contour plotting scripts to fail with the message:

    fatal:_NhlUseWorkspace: Allocation of workspace would exceed maximum total size
    fatal:ContourPlotDraw: error reserving label area map workspace
    fatal:ContourPlotDraw: Error reserving workspace
    fatal:ContourPlotDraw: draw error
    warning:WorkstationDeactivate: workstation not active or not opened

    This occurs when you have a wsMaximizeSize setting in your .hluresfile, and the value is something "small" like 32556688. If you remove this setting, or bump it up to a larger number like 100000000, then contouring should work again.

    This bug was fixed in V6.1.2. We recommend you download that version.

  • There is a bug in Apple's new XQuartz windowing system that causes NCL's cairo X11 window to not display properly on Mac systems running MacOS 10.8 or later, or on Macs that have been upgraded to use XQuartz 2.7.x as the default X11 window system.

    Note: as of November 10, 2013, this bug has been fixed by XQuartz. You need to download and install version 2.7.5 from Be sure to kill any old XQuartz servers that are still running.

    If you can't upgrade your XQuartz for some reason, then a work-around is to use "ncl.xq.fix". You must use this executable in place of "ncl":

      ncl.xq.fix myscript.ncl
    If this seems to fix the problem, then you can make this your default "ncl":

      mv $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl.bkp
      mv $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl.xq.fix $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl
  • If you have an NCL script that calls ImageMagick's "convert" utility to convert from a PS/PDF file to another format, then you need to make sure you delete the workstation before you call convert:

       system( "convert -trim file.gif")

    This ensures that the "" file is properly closed before you convert it. In versions 6.0.0 and earlier, this wasn't required, but it was always recommended. It is now required for V6.1.x.

  • PS files are quite a bit larger than they were in V6.0.0 and earlier. PDF files are smaller.

Version 6.1.0

October 28, 2012

New color display model

With the 6.1.0 release, cairo is the default software used for our graphical display model. This will allow for:

  • The use of 32-bit colors (R,G,B,alpha)
  • The ability to have transparent colors
  • The use of named colors without first adding them to the existing color map
  • The use of more than 256 colors per image

These features will only work with "ps", "pdf", "png", and "x11" output. The "ncgm" output format is still limited to 8-bit color.

Visit the new color capabilities examples page for details.

This upgrade might result in some plots having looking different. Please see the section on potential backwards-incompatibilites for more information.

If you think you've run across a real problem with this upgrade, please see our "Reporting NCL Bugs" page.

Changes to graphical defaults

With the introduction of the new color display model, we decided to change some long-standing graphical defaults NCL. While these changes may cause some backwards-incompatibility in the look of your graphics, we think these changes are for the better. See this side-by-side comparison:

[Click on images for a larger version.]

NCL V6.0.0 NCL V6.1.0

Here are the changes you need to be aware of:

  1. Default color table is a new one with 256 colors.

    The default color table has been changed from the default one called "default" to a new color table called "ncl_default".

    NCL V6.0.0 NCL V6.1.0

  2. Default font is now helvetica.

    The default font is now "helvetica" instead of "times-roman".

  3. Default function code is now "~".

    The old default function code was a colon ":" which is a common character to use in titles.

  4. Color map will automatically be spanned for color contours, vectors, and streamlines.

    This is effectively the same as setting gsnSpreadColors to True. However, this resource has been superceded by new resources cnSpanFillPalette, vcSpanLevelPalette, and stSpanLevelPalette, which all default to True.

    gsnSpreadColors will still work, but it will only have an effect if gsnSpreadColorStart and/or gsnSpreadColorEnd are set to something other than their default values of 2 and -1.

  5. Labelbar labels will automatically be strided if they overlap.

    Basically, lbLabelAutoStride now defaults to True.

Changes to compiling NCAR Graphics and HLU codes

If you are compiling NCAR Graphics or HLU programs using this new version, you are now required to link several new libraries. This is due to the new cairo graphics that are now being used for graphical display.

If you use any of the ncargf77, ncargcc, nhlf77, or nhlcc scripts to compile your code, you will notice that they now link one or more of the additional libraries:

   -lcairo -lfontconfig -lpixman-1 -lfreetype -lexpat -lbz
You will need to have these libraries installed on your system, and they may already be there. If not, you can easily install them on a Linux system using something like yum or apt-get, or YaST, and on a Mac system using MacPorts.

The package(s) to install are "libcairo-devel", "libpixman-devel", "libfontconfig-devel", etc. It is very likely that once you install "libcairo-devel", the other packages will get installed automatically, so check for this before you install all the packages.

Trouble-shooting potential differences in graphics

Here are some possible situations where you'll notice a different in your graphics:

  • You are suddenly seeing gray-filled land in your map plots.

    This is because the gsn_csm_xxx_map functions all fill the land in gray by default. In older (pre V6.1.0) versions of NCL, you had to have gray in your color map in order to see gray-filled land. This is no longer the case.

    If you don't want any map land fill, set:

      res@mpFillOn = False
  • The colors in your plot (especially a filled contour or vector plot) are different.

    This could be due to one of two issues:

    1. If you are not calling gsn_define_colormap to change the color map, then the issue is likely that the new default color map is being used. To fix this, you can load the original default color map with:

    2. If you are setting your own color map, and you are creating a filled vector or contour plot, then the change may be due to the fact that your full colormap is getting spanned. This is because of the new resources cnSpanFillPalette and vcSpanLevelPalette, which default to True. Try setting the appropriate resource to False:

        res@cnSpanFillPalette = False
        res@vcSpanLevelPalette = False
  • You are getting helvetica font instead of times-roman font

    If you really want times-roman font, then create a file called ".hluresfile" in your home directory and add this line to it:

    *Font : times-roman
    You can see a sample file here.

  • The labelbar labels look different.

    This is likely due to lbLabelAutoStride now defaulting to True. If you don't like the result, set this resource to False.

      res@lbLabelAutoStride = False
  • Skew-T plots have different colors.

    This is actually due to a bug fix. The Skew-T code was using named colors like "PalgeGreen" and "Tan" to draw some features. In older versions of NCL, if you didn't have these colors in your color map, then the closest match was used. In 6.1.0 and later, named colors will now get used, regardless if they are in your color map.

New regridding capabilities via ESMF software

We have incorporated the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) regridding software into NCL. This software allows you to regrid rectilinear, curvilinear, and unstructured data, using three different interpolation methods.

Visit the ESMF regridding examples page for details.

New functions

  • cd_convert - Converts a time variable from one set of units to another. This function is identical to ut_convert, except it uses cd_calendar and cd_inv_calendar internally. (Original routine contributed by Carl Schreck.)

  • cd_string - Converts time values into nicely formatted strings. This function is identical to ut_string, except it uses cd_calendar internally. (Original routine contributed by Carl Schreck and Arindam Chakraborty.)

  • depth_to_pres - Convert ocean depth to pressure.

  • dim_min_n_Wrap / dim_max_n_Wrap - Computes the minimum/maximum of a variable's given dimensions at all other dimensions and retains metadata. The dim_min_n / dim_max_n functions have existed since version 5.1.1.

  • dim_gamfit_n - Fits data to the two parameter gamma distribution.

  • dim_numrun_n - Counts the number of "runs" (sequences) within a series containing zeros and ones.

  • dim_spi_n - Calculate the standardized precipitation index (SPI).

  • dpres_plevel_Wrap - Calculates the pressure layer thicknesses of a constant pressure level coordinate system, and retains metadata. This is identical to dpres_plevel, except for the metadata retention.

  • dtrend_quadratic_msg_n - Estimates and removes the least squares quadratic trend of the given dimension from all grid points. Missing values are allowed. Note: in V6.1.0 there was a bug in which remove_mean was behaving the opposite of its intended behavior. This will be fixed in V6.1.1.

  • ESMF functions:

  • gamma - Evaluates the complete gamma function.

  • get_cpu_time - Returns the CPU time used by NCL.

  • Functions to use with "groups": filegrpdef, getfilegrpnames

  • gsn_add_shapefile_polygons - Attaches shapefile polygon data to the given plot using randomly filled polygons.

  • gsn_add_shapefile_polylines - Attaches shapefile polyline or polygon data to the given plot using polylines.

  • gsn_add_shapefile_polymarkers - Attaches shapefile point data to the given plot using markers.

  • gsn_coordinates - draws or attaches the data coordinate locations on the given plot as grid lines or markers.

  • Functions to use with "List" type: ListCount, ListIndex, ListPop, ListPush, NewList

  • mixed_layer_depth - calculates a quantity derived from the Potential Density of significance.

  • potmp_insitu_ocn - Calculate seawater potential temperature at an arbitrary reference pressure given insitu temperature, salinity and depth.

  • print_table / write_table - Writes all elements in a List to a file or stdout.

  • read_colormap_file - Reads an NCL system colormap file or a user-defined colormap.

  • reshape - Reshapes a multi-dimensional array to another multi-dimensional array.

  • reshape_ind - Places values from a smaller one-dimensional array to a larger one-dimensional array, and reshapes it.

  • rm_single_dims - Removes singleton (degenerate) dimensions from an array while preserving meta data.

  • sparse_matrix_mult - Multiples a sparse matrix with a dense matrix.

  • spcorr_n - Computes Spearman rank order correlation coefficient across the given dimension.

  • str_split_csv - Splits strings into an array of strings using the given delimiter (usually a comma ',').

  • wgt_area_smooth - performs a 5-point 2D area-weighted smoother.

  • wind_component - Calculate zonal and meridional wind components from wind speed and wind direction.

  • wind_direction - Calculate meteorological wind direction from zonal and meridional wind components.

  • wrf_map_resources - sets map plotting resources based on an input WRF-ARW file.

New resources

This set of resources were added allowing you to have transparency in some graphical components:

This set of resources allows you to specify color palettes and behavior for each plot type.
They are are meant to replace the behavior of gsnSpreadColors:

New resources added in 6.1.0:

Reading new NetCDF4 features

  • NCL uses a different file structure to represent NetCDF4 files at the low-level. When NCL detects a NetCDF4 file, this new file structure is activited automatically.

  • Starting from 6.1.0, NCL can handle NetCDF4 groups and other data types, such as string, vlen, enum, opaque, and compound.

  • Example of manipulating a NetCDF4 group: nc4_group.ncl

  • Example of reading NetCDF4 strings: nc4_read_string.ncl

  • Example of reading NetCDF4 enum: nc4_read_enum.ncl

  • Example of reading NetCDF4 opaque: nc4_read_opaque.ncl

  • Example of reading NetCDF4 vlen: nc4_read_vlen.ncl

  • Example of reading NetCDF4 compound: nc4_read_compound.ncl

Note that in V6.1.0, there were some issues reading and writing NetCDF4 files (not including classic model NetCDF4 files). These were resolved in V6.1.1.

New color tables

Matthew Long of NCAR/ASP contributed three new "cmp" color tables, and several other tables have been added by the NCL team.

You can download these tables now and use them. Click on the "download now" link of the desired table, and then go to the "Move file to appropriate directory" section of the "create your own color table" page for information on adding this new table to your current version of NCL.

(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
nice for topography
(download now)
nice for topography
(download now)
(new default for NCL)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)

Updated functions

Southern hemisphere font symbols added

We added southern hemisphere versions of our tropical storm and hurricane symbols. Thanks to Joan Fernon for bringing this to our attention.

See letter "k" in font tables 35 and 135, and letter "s" in font tables 37 and 137.

You can use these new fonts now with any version of NCL. You may need to get a system adminstrator to execute some of these steps:

  • Save the files font35.fc and font37.fc.

  • Generate binary versions of these files with:

      fontc font35.fc font35
      fontc font37.fc font37
    Font tables 135 and 137 don't need to be generated. They get their information from these two files.

  • Make copies of your old font35 and font37 files, just in case:

    cp $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/font35 $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/font35.bkup
    cp $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/font37 $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/font37.bkup
  • Move the files font35 and font37 to $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps:

    mv font35 font37 $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/font35 $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/fontcaps/.
  • To test, run this FontTables.ncl script. This will create four X11 windows that you need to click on to advance to the next one. You should see the new S.H. symbol in all of these.

Changes to GRIB1/GRIB2 reader

  • Added support for complex packing in GRIB1. (It's already available for GRIB2 files.)

  • GRIB1 changes

    Time range indicator 10, which indicates that time parameter P1 occupies 2 bytes, is now treated the same as time range indicator 0 for the purposes of generating the forecast time dimension. This means that GRIB1 variable names that used to have '_10' appended no longer will. And, in a very small number of cases, two forecast time dimensions may be concatenated into a single dimension that is the union of the two.

  • New GRIB2 tables added

    Details to be added soon.

Improvements and bug fixes to ncl_convert2nc and ncl_filedump

  • ncl_convert2nc:
    • wasn't working if the file was not in the current directory
    • wasn't working if the file didn't have a file extension (i.e. ".grb")
    • fixed bug with converting single string variables to netcdf character variables
    • wasn't always creating unique names for the temporary NCL script it creates
    • will now determine the name for an unlimited time-related dimension when given the option -u without a name parameter
  • ncl_filedump
    • now works with OPeNDAP files

Bugs fixed

File input/output bugs

  • GRIB
    • Fixed problem reading GRIB2 files larger than 2 GB.
    • Fixed confusion over whether to start from "La1" or "La2" in a GRIB1 or GRIB2 file.
    • Fixed a bug when you tried to open a GRIB file that didn't have a ".grb" extension.
    • Fixed a GRIB2 bug where if a statistically processed variable had too many time periods (necessitating division into multiple variables) it was resulting in an overrun of a while loop and a core dump.
  • NetCDF4
    • Removed the limit of being able to write only 2048 variables to a NetCDF file.
    • Fixed a bug with reading NetCDF4 aggregate coordinate information.
    • Fixed a bug with using getvardims with a NetCDF 4 file.
    • Fixed a bug with writing string attributes to a NetCDF 4 file.
    • Fixed a bug in trying to read hundreds of NetCDF4 files.
  • HDF5
    • Fixed a bug with trying to convert an HDF file with no scientific datasets.
    • Fixed a bug in setfileoption in which it wouldn't work for HDF5 files if the first argument was a format string (like "h5"), rather than a file type variable.
    • Fixed bug with writing NULL-valued attributes to an HDF-EOS2 file. They will now be assigned a missing value.
    • Fixed bug in reading ZA data in an HDF-EOS5 file.
    • Fixed a bug with strings not being read correctly in an HDF-EOS5 file.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Fixed a memory problem when deleting a global attribute from a file.
    • Fixed a problem with reading files in "cat" mode where one of the variables doesn't have "true" coordinate arrays.
    • Fixed a problem with accessing a variable when specifying a single file in a join type aggregation.
    • Fix for problems reading files with single dimensions that exceed 2^31.
    • asciiread - this function will now read the last line of a file that doesn't have an "end-of-line" character after it.
    • Fixed a bug with attaching attribute information to coordinate variables.

Graphical bugs

  • Fixed a problem in the contouring code that was causing some areas to be left blank if drawing a raster plot using a triangular mesh.
  • Fixed a contour bug that caused a plot to be blank on one size of grid boundary.
  • Fixed an X11 window bug that caused a segmentation fault if you didn't have authorization to display X applications.
  • gsn_csm_pres_hgt_streamline - fixed a bug in which the pressure values were not converted correctly for the u/v values, causing the streamlines not to show up.
  • maximize_output - fixed a bug where it didn't resize properly for "ps" and "pdf" output.
  • Fixed a bug in which colors in the labelbar and contour plot were sometimes not matching up. This involved changing the default value of cnFixFillBleed to True.
  • skewT_BackGround - this function wasn't displaying the proper colors for the skew-T background if you didn't already have them in your color map, because it was using named colors. Now that named colors don't have to be explicitly added to a color map, you will get the correct ones requested by the skew-T code ("PaleGreen" background, "tan" lines, etc).
  • Fixed a problem with drawing dense curly vectors, that would sometimes cause a little "x" to appear at the end of a vector.
  • Fixed a bug where the "degree" symbol in map tickmark labels would be hollow for subsequent frames.
  • gsn_csm_contour_map (and other gsn_csm_xxx_map functions) - fixed a bug where the longitude labels were not correct if mpCenterLonF wasn't set, and the longitude values were > 180.
  • Fixed a bug where the X11 window wouldn't display properly on MacOS 10.8 systems running the new XQuartz server.
  • idt - fixed a failure under MacOS 10.7.
  • NhlNewDashPattern and NhlNewMarker - we believe we've fixed the infamous bug in which these two functions would fail sporadically on Linux systems.

Analysis function bugs

  • cd_calendar - was returning strange values if a bad "unit" was given. It now returns all missing values.
  • dim_num_n - fixed a bug in the prototyping of this function.
  • dpres_hybrid_ccm - fixed a memory issue that sometimes caused a segmentation fault.
  • min and max - now returns the missing value of the input if input is all missing, rather than the missing value of the type of the input.
  • reg_multlin - fixed a memory leak.
  • str_match - didn't allow you to input an empty string as a delimiter.
  • triple2grid - sometimes had a problem if "opt" was set to False.
  • WRFUserARW.ncl - fixed a bug in calculating the cone factor.
  • gc_tarea / gc_qarea - these functions will now return a missing value if invalid lat/lon coordinates are given.
  • str_capital - wasn't correctly capitalizing strings in all cases. Also fixed a bug where it was modifying its input string.

ESMF regridding bugs

  • Fixed a bug where if the "conserve" method was being used, the grid corners were not checked for out-of-range values. It is still highly recommended to input your own grid corners, rather than letting NCL guess at them.
  • Fixed bug with the "CopyVarCoords" attribute. Not all coordinate variables were being copied over.

"List" bugs

  • NewList - wasn't letting you create a "cat" list directly.
  • Fixed a bug making a copy of a List variable.
  • Fixed a bug where you couldn't delete attributes in a List.

Miscellaneous bugs

  • systemfunc - now returns a string missing value if there is no valid return information.
  • Fixed bug with assigning logicals when a variable appeared on both sides of the "=" sign.

Known issues with version 6.1.0

Some of these issues have been fixed in V6.1.1.

  • There are some problems users have found when writing NetCDF4 files.
    1. Writing a (undefined) variable directly to file
    2. Writing a scalar to a file
    3. Printing a variable's attribute when it is double
    4. Adding global attributes to an existing file
    5. If two files are opened, where the first one is NetCDF3, and second one is NetCDF4, then there is problem to operate on the first file.

      One way to work around this problem is to run ncl with "-f" option, e.g. run "ncl -f your-script".

  • There's a bug in the $NCARG/ni/src/ncl/yMakefile file that will only cause a problem if you try to build NCL with GDAL support turned off. To fix this, download this yMakefile.ncl.fix file, rename it to "yMakefile", and put it in the $NCARG/ni/src/ncl directory before you start the build.

    This will be fixed in V6.1.1.

  • There is a bug in Apple's new XQuartz windowing system that causes NCL's cairo X11 window to not work properly on Mac systems running MacOS 10.8 or later, or on Macs that have been upgraded to use Xquartz 2.7.x as the default X11 window system.

    If you believe you've run into this bug with our precompiled binary, then you can try "ncl.xq.fix" to see if this fixes the issue. Just use this executable in place of "ncl":

      ncl.xq.fix myscript.ncl
    If this seems to fix the problem, then you can make this your default "ncl":

      mv $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl.bug
      mv $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl.xq.fix $NCARG_ROOT/bin/ncl
  • If you have an NCL script that calls ImageMagick's "convert" utility to convert from a PS/PDF file to another format, then you need to make sure you delete the workstation before you call convert:

       system( "convert -trim file.gif")

    This ensures that the "" file is properly closed before you convert it. In versions 6.0.0 and earlier, this wasn't required, but it was always recommended. It is now required for V6.1.0.

  • PS files are quite a bit larger than they were in V6.0.0 and earlier. PDF files are smaller.

  • dtrend_quadratic_msg_n - the "remove_mean" input parameter is behaving the opposite of what the documentation states. This will be fixed in V6.1.1.

  • The lgItemOrder resource doesn't work correctly with gsn_legend_ndc.

  • There is a bug in HDF-EOS5, which cause NCL segmentation fault. The problem is that HDF-EOS5 can not read attribute if it has more than one element, such as this file: OMI-Aura_L3-OMLER_2005m01-2009m12_v003-2010m0503t063707.he5. The work around is try to read it as HDF5 file.

Version 6.1.0-beta

May 28, 2012

This was a test release for the official 6.1.0 release.

Version 6.0.0

30 May 2011

Variables greater than or equal to 2 gigabytes (GB) in size are allowed

Prior to version 6.x, NCL variables could not be greater than or equal to 2 GB in size. This restriction has been removed on 64-bit systems (the restriction remains for 32-bit systems).

Also with this upgrade, dimension sizes will be of type "long" on 64-bit systems if any dimension size is >= 2 GB.

Important note about *.so files generated by WRAPIT

In this release, you will need to regenerate any *.so files generated by older versions of WRAPIT, as these old files will not be compatible with the new NCL software.

If you try to use the old files with the new NCL, you will get a fatal message that looks like this:

fatal:Number of elements of dimension (0) of argument (0) is (1) in 
      function (stuff), expected (4582672464) elements

Change to default missing values

The default missing values for all numeric variable types has been changed. For full information on this, see the "data types" section in the NCL Reference Manual.

This is in line with the default missing values for NetCDF, and some of the old default values were too small to be safely out of the range of potential calculations.

Here's a table of the old and new missing values:

Variable type Old missing value New missing value
byte* 0xff -127
ubyte -- 255
short -99 -32767
ushort 0 65535
integer -999 -2147483647
uint 0 4294967295
long -9999 -2147483647
ulong 0 4294967295
int64 -99999999 -9223372036854775806
uint64 0 18446744073709551614
float -999 9.96921e+36
double -9999 9.969209968386869e+36
character* 0 0x00

* The missing values for bytes and characters are rather different. This is because an NCL byte is now a signed byte (it was unsigned before), and an NCL character is now an unsigned byte (it was signed before). This change keeps us in line with the definition of a NetCDF byte and character.

Possible "gotchas" in default missing value change

The default missing value change could cause some backwards incompatibility in your NCL scripts. Here are some "gotchas" to look for and correct:

  • Do not use hard-coded values to check if your data contains any missing values.

    For example, if you have a float variable "x" that was assigned a default missing value of -999 via some other calculation, *and* you have code like this:

        if(x(i).eq.-999)) then

    then your code may no longer work in V6.0.0. You should instead use functions like ismissing to check for missing values:

        if(ismissing(x(i))) then

  • Be careful with checking for missing data by assuming it is less than zero.

    If you have data that is supposed to always be positive, and you check for missing values by assuming the default value is less than zero, then this may no longer work in V6.0.0. For example, the default missing values for floats and doubles were negative in V5.x, and are now positive in V6.x.

  • Be careful with sorting data that may contain default missing values.

    Functions like qsort and dim_pqsort sort missing values like regular values. In V6.x, the default float and double missing values are now positive, so they will be sorted differently than in V5.x where they were negative.

  • Set the "_FillValue" attribute if you are reading ASCII data.

    If you are reading data from an ASCII file that potentially contains missing values, and if these missing values are equal to the *old* default values, then you may need to set the _FillValue attribute explicitly after reading the data in.

    Functions like asciiread and readAsciiTable automatically assign a _FillValue attribute based on the type of the variable you're reading in. If you are assuming that the default missing value is -999 for floats, say, then your code will not work properly.

    For example, if you have an ASCII file with float values, and you have "-999" in the file to represent missing values, then you will need to explicitly set the _FillValue attribute to -999 after you read it in, because now the default missing value for a float will be "9.96921e+36":

       data = asciiread("file.txt",-1,"float")
       data@_FillValue = -999

We have provided two ways to get at the old default missing values if you are not ready to change your code. The first way is via a procedure call:


The second way is via a command line option when you run NCL.

Change to byte and character types

In NCL versions 5.x and earlier, an NCL byte was unsigned, and an NCL character was signed. To make things more consistent, and to stay in line with bytes and characters in NetCDF, these two types have switched meaning: an NCL byte is now signed and an NCL character is unsigned.

We've introduced a new type---"ubyte" (unsigned byte)---if you need the functionality of the old-style NCL byte.

For more information about NCL data types, see the "data types" section in the NCL Reference Manual.

New functions

  • cd_calendar (V6.0.0) - converts a mixed Julian/Gregorian date to a UT-referenced date. This is a replacement for ut_calendar

  • cd_inv_calendar (V6.0.0) - converts a UT-referenced date to a mixed Julian/Gregorian date. This is a replacement for ut_inv_calendar

  • gsn_csm_blank_plot (V6.0.0-beta) - creates a "blank" plot with tickmarks pointing outward.

  • isubyte (V6.0.0-beta) - returns True if the input is an unsigned byte.

  • isunsigned (V6.0.0-beta) - returns True if the input is any of the unsigned types (ubyte, ushort, uint, ulong, uint64).

  • default_fillvalue (V6.0.0-beta) - returns the default missing value for the given variable type.

  • namedcolor2rgb (V6.0.0-beta) - Returns the RGB triplets of the given list of named colors.

  • remap_elements (V6.0.0) - Remaps values on one grid to a rectilinear latitude-longitude grid.

  • set_default_fillvalue (V6.0.0-beta) - allows you to change the default missing value for a particular variable type, or change all the default missing values to the same values that were used in NCL version 5.x.

  • show_ascii (V6.0.0) - prints the ASCII table to the screen.

  • span_named_colors (V6.0.0-beta) - Creates an RGB array that is a span between given list of named colors.

  • str_match_ic (V6.0.0) - returns a list of strings that contain the given substring (case insensitive).

  • str_match_ind (V6.0.0) - returns the indexes into a list of strings that contain the given substring (case sensitive).

  • str_match_ind_ic (V6.0.0) - returns the indexes into a list of strings that contain the given substring (case insensitive).

  • str_split_by_length (V6.0.0-beta) - splits strings given a scalar length or array of lengths.

  • toubyte (V6.0.0-beta) - converts input to an unsigned byte.

Updated functions

  • Numerous functions have been upgraded to allow dimension sizes and index values to be integers or longs. On a 64-bit system, dimension sizes of type long allows you to have variables >= 2 GB.

    Here is a list of functions that have been upgraded to allow for long input and/or output. Not all updated functions are listed here; just the most widely-used ones:

    • conform_dims (V6.0.0-beta) - the first argument can be a long.

    • dim_gbits, getbitsone (V6.0.0-beta) - now accepts int8, uint8, and ushort input.

    • dimsizes (V6.0.0-beta) - longs will be returned if you're on a 64-bit machine and the product of your dimension sizes is >= 2 GB.

    • fspan (V6.0.0-beta) - the third argument can be a long.

    • ind, minind, maxind (V6.0.0-beta) - these functions will return longs if you're on a 64-bit system and any of the index values are >= 2 GB.

    • ind_resolve (V6.0.0-beta) - longs will be returned if any of the index values are >= 2 GB. Also, the input can now be integer or long.

    • ispan (V6.0.0-beta) - any of the input can be of type int, long, or int64. Also, the return type can be int, long, or int64, depending on the input types.

    • new (V6.0.0-beta) - the input dimension sizes can be longs.

    • num (V6.0.0-beta) - a long will be returned if you're on a 64-bit system and the count is >= 2 GB.

    • onedtond (V6.0.0-beta) - the second argument can be longs.

    • sizeof (V6.0.0-beta) - the size returned will be a long if you're on a 64-bit machine and the size is >= 2 GB.

  • rcm2points / rcm2points_Wrap (V6.0.0) - the simple search algorithm used by these functions is not capable of handling all cases. The result is that, sometimes, there are non-interpolated points in the initial interpolation pass. Beginning with V6.0.0: any interior points not interpolated in the initial interpolation pass will be filled by searching all points and using an inverse distance squared algorithm.

  • rcm2rgrid / rcm2rgrid_Wrap (V6.0.0) - the simple search algorithm used by these functions is not capable of handling all cases. The result is that, sometimes, there are small gaps in the interpolated grids. Beginning with V6.0.0: any interior points not interpolated in the initial interpolation pass will be filled using linear interpolation. In some cases, edge points may not be filled.

  • wrf_interp_3d_z, wrf_user_intrp3d (V6.0.0-beta) - the missing value was changed from -999999 to the new default missing value for a float/double (9.96921e+36).

  • wrf_user_list_times, wrf_user_getvar, wrf_user_ij_to_ll, wrf_user_ll_to_ij (V6.0.0) - these functions have been updated to allow the first argument to be either a file opened with addfile, or a list of files opened with addfiles.

Deleting multiple variables

In alpha test mode: you can now use delete to delete multiple variables of mixed types and sizes. Use the special syntax "[/" and "/]" around the variables you want to delete:

  lat  = fspan(-90,90,64)
  lon  = fspan(-180,180,128)
  data = random_uniform(-10,10,(/10,20,30/))
  varnames = (/"T","P","U","V"/)    ; 1D string array
  . . .

  print(lon(0))    ; This will produce an error that "lon" is undefined

Keywords added

  • enumeric
  • group
  • int64
  • snumeric
  • ubyte
  • uint
  • uint64
  • ulong
  • ushort
  • Missing

New color tables

Emilie Vanvyve of NCAR/RAL contributed eight new color tables. You can download these tables now and use them. Click on the "download now" link of the desired table, and then go to the "Move file to appropriate directory" section of the "create your own color table" page for information on adding this new table to your current version of NCL.

(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)
(download now)

There are now 101 color tables available.

New graphical resources

This resource sets the color to use for filling areas outside the boundaries of the data grid, but within the viewport and the projectable areas of the underlying map, if any.
This resource sets the fill pattern index used to fill areas outside the boundaries of the data grid, but within the viewport and the projectable areas of the underlying map, if any.
This resource controls the scaling of the pattern used for areas outside the boundaries of the data grid, but within the viewport and the projectable areas of the underlying map, if any.
This resource sets the color to use for filling areas within the viewport but outside the projectable area of the underlying map, if any.
This resource sets the fill pattern index used to fill areas within the viewport but outside the projectable area of the underlying map, if any.
This resource controls the scaling of the pattern used for areas within the viewport but outside the projectable area of the underlying map, if any.

Also, the default values of cnMissingValFillColor and cnMissingValFillPattern have changed: cnMissingValFillColor formerly defaulted to Background and cnMissingValFillPattern defaulted to HollowFill. Now the defaults have respectively changed to Transparent and SolidFill. Since the effect is the same in either case, this change is not anticipated to affect very many existing scripts. The change was made to simplify the interactions between these resources and the above newly added resources. One advantage of this change is that, assuming contour fill is enabled, you can get visible fill of the missing value areas by modifying only one resource instead of two.

Change to naming of PNG files

The PNG file format does not support multiple images per file. In NCL 5.2.x and earlier, multiple plots written to a PNG workstation resulted correspondingly in multiple files, named with a 6-digit sequence number appended to the user-specified filename (file.000001.png, file.000002.png, etc). In cases where only one plot is generated, this behavior was unnecessary and deemed undesirable by a number of users.

With NCL 6.0.0, no sequence number is appended when only a single plot is generated (file.png). As before, when multiple plots are written, sequence numbers are appended to all filenames, including the first for consistency.

Bugs fixed

  • (In version 6.0.0-beta only) If you use a "/" in conjunction with reading a variable off a file:

      a   = addfile("","r")
      lev = a->lev/100

    You will get an unexpected syntax error:

    fatal:Either file (a) isn't defined or variable (lev/100) is not a
    variable in the file

    This is an error due to the implementation of reading "groups" in HDF5, which can be accessed with a "/". NCL thinks you are trying to access a group called "lev/100", rather than trying to divide the "lev" values by 100.

  • In the process of testing NCL 6.0.0, we ran a number of memory debugging codes (valgrind, purify) and fixed many memory leaks.

  • Fixed a bug in which the NCL polygon code was not being handled correctly on spherical surfaces, potentially causing the fill to "bleed".

  • Fixed a bug with the "record"/"stop" commands that caused them to abort and produce a bunch of errors on a Linux system.

  • Fixed a bug with ncl_filedump not working on 2D character arrays or improperly deleting a local variable if a string variable was being processd.

  • Fixed some GRIB bugs:

    • GRIB user-defined parameter table wasn't read correctly when there was an entry for parameter 0.
    • GRIB grid 242 didn't have the correct values for Dx and Dy.

  • Fixed a bug with drawing triangular mesh contours to the full viewport.

  • Fixed a bus error caused by initializing an NCL variable with an invalid value.

  • Fixed a bug with logical values not being converted to strings correctly if set to the default missing value.

  • Fixed a bug in which if NCL_DEF_SCRIPTS_DIR environment variable was set, NCL scripts were not loaded in a predictable order. Scripts are now loaded in ascii case-sensitive order (numbers before letters, upper case before lower case). Files that do not end with '.ncl' are simply ignored.

  • asciiread - fixed inconsistent behavior where this function was setting a missing value if the dimensions were explictly set, and not if the dimensions were specified with "-1". Note that now that the default missing values have been changed, you will see the new default missing values returned for this function.

  • genNormalDist - this function was calculating PI incorrectly.

  • getfiledimsizes - this function was incorrectly returning longs if the individual dimension sizes were less than 2 GB.

  • gsn_csm_pres_hgt_vector - the vector array needs to have pressure values in "mb", so added a check for this.

  • obj_anal_ic - this routine had a bug if the input arrays had different missing values.

  • rcm2points_Wrap / rcm2points_Wrap - details soon

  • rcm2rgrid_Wrap - fixed a serious bug in which the lat/lon input and output arrays were swapped. rcm2rgrid did not have this bug.

  • str_match - this function was case insensitive and it should have been case sensitive. Use the new str_match_ic if you need case-insensitivity matching.

  • str_split - this function was freeing non-allocated memory.
  • ut_calendar / ut_inv_calendar - there are a number of bugs in these functions, due to the underlying code in UDUNITS2 not being supported anymore. Use the new functions cd_calendar / cd_inv_calendar instead.

What's new/updated since 6.0.0-beta

New functions:

Updated functions:

New resources:

  • cnGridBoundFillColor
  • cnGridBoundFillPattern
  • cnGridBoundFillScaleF
  • cnOutOfRangeFillColor
  • cnOutOfRangeFillPattern
  • cnOutOfRangeFillScaleF

Improved functionality:

  • The order in which scripts contained in the NCL_DEF_SCRIPTS_DIR directory are loaded is no longer undefined. Now, based on their names, the scripts are loaded in ascii case-sensitive order (numbers before letters, upper case before lower case). Files in the directory that do not have a ".ncl" suffix are now simply ignored, rather than causing a fatal error. A warning is generated if there are no valid scripts in the directory, and a script that fails to load properly causes a fatal error.

Version 6.0.0-beta

2 March 2011

This was a test release for the official 6.0.0 release

Version 5.2.1

26 July 2010

New functions

Updates to GRIB1/GRIB2 reader

  • Added support for reading (NCEP) Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR): 1979-2010 files. These GRIB2 files have a non-standard method for specifying statistical-process variables.

  • Updated ability to read WAFS upper-air forecasts in GRIB2 code form

    A new attribute "type_of_spatial_processing" was added to statistical spatial variables that use GRIB2 template 4.15. Also added statistical variable type suffixes to the variable names (_avg, _max) in order to distinguish otherwise identical variable names.

  • Fixed a problem reading Canadian Meteorology Centre's GEM data in GRIB1 format.

    Implemented a fix for GRIB1 files (intended to have global longitudinal extent) where lo1 and lo2 are equal (e.g. both are set to 180 -- rather than what has alwas been expected---lo1 = -180 and lo2 = 180).

New resources

Updated functions

  • rcm2points

    A new option was added (opt=2) that uses a bilinear interpolation scheme rather than the (default) inverse distance squared.

  • wrf_uvmet

    This function was updated to recognize missing values and deal with them accordingly.

Infamous ARSCAM/ARPRAM bug fixed

The infamous error:

    fatal:ContourPlotDraw: draw error

which caused some plots to not be drawn has been fixed.

Other bugs fixed

  • A bug was fixed that restricted the length of a graphical output string to 254 characters.

  • Fixed an "assignment mismatch" bug with trying to replace a coordinate array with an array of a different type inside a procedure.

  • gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_polar

    Fixed a bug in which if you tried to panel plots created by this function, no common labelbar would appear.

  • month_to_annual

    A bug was fixed in which this function would return an unexpected "dimension sizes" error.

  • pdfx, pdfxy

    At the suggestion of a user, the way the bin sizes were calculated was changed.

  • readAsciiTable

    Fixed a bug in which if the first value of "opt" is 0, the second value is ignored.

  • ut_calendar / ut_inv_calendar

    There was a problem with these functions if you had set the UDUNITS_PATH environment variable to an older UDUNITS-1 path. You would get an error that looks like this:

      warning:ut_calendar: Invalid specification string. Missing values will
      be returned.

    This problem should be fixed now, and you shouldn't need to set UDUNITS2_XML_PATH (this was the work-around for V5.2.0).

  • uv2dv_cfd, uv2vr_cfd

    A bug was fixed in which the _FillValue was not being set if the input "u" didn't have a _FillValue. These now always returns a _FillValue attribute.

  • wgt_vol_ave

    A bug was fixed in which "NaN" (not a number) values were incorrectly returned if a subset of the data was all missing. It now returns missing values.

  • wrf_slp / wrf_user_getvar Fixed a memory leak when multiple "slp" were read off a file.

  • Fixed a problem in V5.2.0 with reading an OMI Aura HDFEOS5 file.

Version 5.2.0

14 April 2010

NCL hosted on new ESG website

The NCL 5.2.0 binaries are being released on a new ESG system, which was officially released for production on May 5, 2010. The URL is the same as before:

New output formats

We've added some new graphical output formats (workstation types). These are based upon an experimental graphics driver, and are considered beta-level capabilities:

  • "png" or "newpng" for PNG output
  • "newps" for PostScript
  • "newpdf" for PDF

These formats can be used with gsn_open_wks:

   wks = gsn_open_wks("png","test")      ; Will create "test.000001.png"
   wks = gsn_open_wks("newpdf","test")   ; Will create "test.pdf"
   wks = gsn_open_wks("newps","test")    ; Will create ""

The "newpdf" workstation generally produces smaller output files than the original "pdf" type. Unfortunately, the "newps" output does not produce smaller PostScript files.

The "newps" and "newpdf" formats will remain in test mode for awhile, and may eventually replace the original "ps" and "pdf" formats. The original formats may be kept for backwards compatibility.

The old "png" format, which was never officially advertised, has been replaced by the new graphics driver; "png" is now synonymous with "newpng".

HDF-EOS5 reader

NCL can now read HDF-EOS5 files via the addfile or addfiles functions. You can also use the tools ncl_filedump and ncl_convert2nc to dump the contents of the file to the screen, or convert it to NetCDF.

New variable types

  • int64
  • uint64
  • ulong
  • uint
  • ushort
For more information, see the "Data Types" section in the NCL Reference Manual. See also the list of new conversion functions.

New functions

New user-contributed functions

A number of users have been sending us some nice NCL scripts, so we've decided to create a new directory for these.

  • calendar_decode2 - Translates numeric time coordinates to calendar times (contributed by Dave Allured)

  • kf_filter - Extracts equatorial waves by filtering in the Wheeler-Kiladis wavenumber-frequency domain.

  • run_cor - Calculates a running correlation (contributed by Sabeerli)

  • time_axis_labels - Sets resources necessary to draw nice tickmark labels using a format of date/time on an axis (contributed by Arindam Chakraborty)

  • ut_string - Converts time values into nicely formatted strings (contributed by Carl Schreck/Arindam Chakraborty)

New resources

Updated functions

  • clmDayTLL, clmMonTLL, clmMonTLLL, stdMonTLL, stdMonTLLL, month_to_annual, month_to_annual_weighted.

    These were updated to use dim_avg_n and/or dim_stddev_n.

  • gsn_add_polygon, gsn_add_polyline, gsn_add_polymarker

    These functions have been updated to recognize the special tfPolyDrawOrder resource.

  • gsn_open_wks

    This function has been updated to recognize the new output types: "png", "newps", and "newpdf". For more information, see the "New graphical output formats" section.

  • int2p_Wrap

    The argument prototype xo[*]:numeric is no longer applicable. The function allows the xo to be multidimensional.

  • PopLatLon, PopLatLonV

    These functions have been updated to recognize the high resolution "tx0.1v2" mappings.

  • relhum

    The function has been updated to allow relative humidities > 100% (super saturation). Previously, these were set to 100%.

  • ut_calendar and ut_inv_calendar

    These functions are now linked against the UDUNITS-2 library. This means the code has a new dependency on some UDUNITS-2 XML files that come installed with this version of NCL.

    Unfortunately we've discovered a bug in V5.2.0 where if you have the UDUNITS_PATH environment variable set, and it's pointing to an older UDUNITS-1 path, then these functions will fail with a message like:

      warning:ut_calendar: Invalid specification string. Missing values will
      be returned.

    There are two possible work-arounds:

    1. Set the environment variable UDUNITS2_XML_PATH to point to $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/udunits/udunits2.xml:

         setenv UDUNITS2_XML_PATH $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/udunits/udunits2.xml
         export UDUNITS2_XML_PATH=$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/udunits/udunits2.xml

    2. Unset the UDUNITS_PATH environment variable before you run NCL.

  • WindRoseBasic, WindRoseColor, WindRoseThickLine.

    These were updated to allow the wspd and wdir to be multi-dimensional.

Updates and changes to GRIB1/GRIB2 reader

GRIB2 code table updates


The GRIB2 code tables have been extensively revised to bring them up-to-date with the currently documented state of the parameter tables primarily as defined by NCEP in links from the parameter category page at ECMWF tables, as documented at, were also consulted with the goal of harmonizing the parameter lists and descriptions as much as possible. The number of defined parameter has almost doubled, increasing from 371 to 701. This should eliminate most of the warnings about unrecognized parameters. Unfortunately, this process has led to some unavoidable backwards incompatibilities, primarily due to changes in the short names that form the base name for NCL variables that represent the aggregated GRIB records.

When GRIB2 was first introduced the NCEP documentation did not include abbreviations (short names) for many parameters. Since NCL's variable naming scheme requires a short name, NCL developers invented them where needed. Now, however, NCEP has created their own abbreviations for every parameter. Naturally enough, these names do not all coincide with the short names chosen by the NCL developers. To prevent confusion and to promote future interoperability, the NCL development team has decided that the importance of using essentially the same parameter names as NCEP outweighs the immediate cost of a certain amount of backwards incompatibility. As a gauge of the scope of the problem, 92 short names (approximately 25% of the parameter total prior to this release) have had short name changes. However, this statistic may exaggerate the scope of the problem, because many or most of these changes apply to new and therefore probably relatively obscure parameters.

In order to mitigate this problem for users who may not immediately be able to update their codes to reflect the new variable names, the previous version of the code tables is being included with the distribution in a parallel directory tree. Users can switch from the default set of code tables located at $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/grib2_codetables by setting the environment variable NIO_GRIB2_CODETABLES to point to $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/grib2_codetables.previous. For reference a list of the short name changes and additions is available here.

There have also been some changes to the parameter description string that serves as the value of the long_name attribute. Basically the capitalization as been regularized by making all words except the initial word lower case. The only exception to this rule is for acronyms that are traditionally all upper-case.

Note that the GRIB2 codetables are text files that can easily be edited. Therefore users who do not like any aspect of the presentation of the parameters can create their own copy of the directory tree and modify it to suit their needs. By pointing NIO_GRIB2_CODETABLES to this copy of the code tables NCL will immediately incorporate the modifications into its presentation of GRIB2 data. One additional point is that sort of incompatibility should not happen again. The new NCL development policy is that short names will no longer be invented. If parameters happen to be documented without an abbreviation, they will appear in NCL's presentation of the data as VAR_x_x_x_... (for GRIB2 data), where the 3 'x's stands for discipline, category, and parameter number. This is also true for GRIB1 data, except that the form is VAR_x_..., where 'x' is simply the parameter number.

Partial support for complex packing in GRIB1 files

Support was added for row by row complex packing without secondary bit maps in GRIB1 files.

Support for GRIB2 spatial statistical data

Added support for product template 4.15 which defines statistical processes over a spatial region.

Partial support for GRIB2 grid type 204 (curvilinear orthogonal grids)

This grid type is supported without coordinate data. Notably, however, the example file contains its own coordinate data as variables in their own right.

Lazy evaluation implemented for logical arrays


The and (.and.) and or (.or.) operators now perform lazy evaluation in an array context. If the left hand side logical expression is a scalar, there is no change in behavior. If the left hand logical expression is an array, lazy evaluation is now performed on an element by element basis. This gives a different result than previous versions of NCL for any elements that match the following two cases:

  • True .or. Missing
  • False .and. Missing
Prior versions returned Missing for both these cases. As of the current version, the first case returns True and the second case returns False. However, unlike with lazy evaluation when the left hand side is scalar, both the left hand side and right hand side expressions are evaluated individually prior to applying either logical operator. This means that this form of lazy evaluation cannot be used to avoid error conditions that might occur from evaluation of the right hand side expression.

See logical expressions and lazy evaluation in NCL for more information.

New color tables

These color tables were graciously contributed by MeteoSwiss.
[Click on image for larger version.]

For a list of all the available color tables, see the color table gallery.

OPeNDAP-enabled binaries now available for all systems

NetCDF Version 4.1.x now comes with OPeNDAP support built into it, which makes building an OPeNDAP-enabled version of NCL much easier. As a result, we provide OPeNDAP-enabled binaries for all systems we support.

There may be some dependencies on shared libraries like "libcurl", "", "", and "". These may already be on your system.

If you run into a problem with shared libraries when running "ncl", then either download a non-OPeNDAP enabled binary, or see these Linux or Cygwin notes.

Bugs fixed

  • A bug was fixed in writing classic NetCDF 4 files if the following conditions were met:

    • You were writing a NetCDF-4 classic file on a big endian machine.

      Big endian machines include IBM/AIX/Power, Mac PowerPC, and Sun/Solaris systems.

      To write a NetCDF-4 classic file, you must have put the following line in your NCL script, before any addfile(s) call:

          setfileoption("nc", "Format",  "NetCDF4Classic")

      Otherwise, by default, you will be writing a NetCDF 3 file, and you shouldn't have any problems.

    • You are writing more than 10 global attributes and/or more than 10 variable attributes to a file. (In some testing, this number seems to vary depending on conditions we're not sure of.)

    • If you then transfer this NetCDF file to a little endian system (Linux Intel or Mac Intel systems), you may not be able to read it back in using an NCL script, ncl_filedump, or any other program that reads NetCDF-4 classic files.

  • Another bug in the recent implementation of aggregated variable subscripting for the file list returned by the addfiles function was found in version 5.1.1 and has now been fixed. It involves selection along the aggregated dimension only when using vector subscripting. The problem occurs when a selection results in a single element being accessed along the aggregated dimension for any file in the list. The symptoms of this problem range from possible core dumps to returned variables that have fewer coordinate variables than expected along with odd mix-ups between the coordinate variables that are present. Users are advised to avoid using vector subscripting along the aggregated dimension if there is a possibility that only one element is selected from any of the files in the list.

  • dim_avg_Wrap

    This function was not copying variable attributes as advertised.

  • gsn_panel

  • A bug was fixed in which if you use a "plot" array with multiple calls to gsn_panel, and each set of paneled plots has a different common labelbar, then you wouldn't get the correct labelbar for the second plot.

    Here an NCL script that illustrates the problem.

  • mjo_xcor_lag_season

    Added a statment that fixes a possible numerical rounding issue.

  • rho_mwjf

    Dr. Arne Melson [Norwegian Meteorological Institute, R & D - Oceanography ] noted that the results were applicable for computing surface potential density only, i.e., where depth=0. A modification has since been applied [version 5.2.0] to accurately compute all density surfaces (depth >= 0).

  • rcm2points_Wrap

    Corrected an interface error.

  • skewT_PlotData

    Fixed an issue that occured when the attribute [resource] ThermoInfo was set to False.

Version 5.1.1

June 16, 2009

New functions

dim_avg_n, dim_avg_wgt_n, dim_cumsum_n, dim_max_n, dim_median_n, dim_min_n, dim_num_n, dim_pqsort_n, dim_product_n, dim_rmsd_n, dim_rmvmean_n, dim_rmvmed_n, dim_standardize_n, dim_stat4_n, dim_stddev_n, dim_sum_n, dim_sum_wgt_n, dim_variance_n, dim_avg_n_Wrap, dim_avg_wgt_n_Wrap, dim_cumsum_n_Wrap, dim_rmsd_n_Wrap, dim_rmvmean_n_Wrap, dim_rmvmed_n_Wrap, dim_rmvmed_Wrap, dim_standardize_n_Wrap, dim_stddev_n_Wrap, dim_sum_n_Wrap, dim_sum_wgt_n_Wrap, dim_variance_n_Wrap

This suite of functions is an upgrade to the existing dim_xxxx functions which operate only on the rightmost dimension. The dim_xxxx_n and dim_xxxx_n_Wrap functions operate on the input given dimenions, so you don't have to reorder the input array first.

Generates a joint probability density distribution.

Creates a nice plot of the joint probability array created by the pdfxy function.

Generates a number of 'dispersion' statistics.

str_capital, str_concat, str_fields_count, str_get_cols, str_get_dq, str_get_field, str_get_nl, str_index_of_substr, str_insert, str_is_blank, str_join, str_left_strip, str_lower, str_right_strip, str_squeeze, str_strip, str_sub_str, str_switch, str_upper

A new suite of string functions to make reading ASCII files and processing NCL strings easier.

Given year and day-of-year (yyyyddd) create a one-dimensional array containing concatenated year, month and day-of-month [yyyymmdd] values.

Given concatenated year-month-day_of_month (yyyymmdd) creates a one-dimensional array containing concatenated year and day-of-year [yyyyddd] values.

Support for shapefiles and other geospatial data formats

addfile, ncl_filedump and ncl_convert2nc will support the reading of several geospatial vector-data formats, such as shapefiles (.shp), MapInfo interchange files (.mif), Generic Mapping Tools ascii files (.gmt), and pre-2006 edition TIGER/Line files (.rt1). This will be a test version, so use at your own risk. See the shapefiles applications page for some examples.

New resources

gsnStringFontColor / gsnLeftStringFontColor / gsnCenterStringFontColor / gsnRightStringFontColor
Allows you to set the color of the three subtitles at the top of a "gsn_csm" plot.

Change to the procedure for updating GRIB 1 parameter tables

NCL uses abbreviated short names usually found in GRIB 1 parameter tables to form the initial component of NCL file variable names. However, centers such as ECMWF sometimes provide tables that have are have no short names for some or all the parameters in the table. Formerly, the NCL developers made up suitable short names, but this practice has been discontinued. Now, as NCL adds a file, when no abbreviation is found for a parameter the variable will be assigned the name "VAR_" as its initial component. This is the same scheme used when a parameter has no entry in the table at all. The difference is that no warning will be issued if an entry without an abbreviation is found, and the variable will have "long_name" and "units" attributes as usual. Users should expect that in future releases, if the tables are updated with abbreviations, such names might well change.

New and updated ECMWF GRIB 1 parameter tables

The following new ECMWF parameter tables were added:

The following tables were updated:

"addfiles" bugs fixed

  • There were several bugs in the new implementation of the addfiles function that was released with version 5.1.0. They were serious enough that users should not trust the data read into variables using addfiles for version 5.1.0. Anyone that relies on addfiles should upgrade to the new release immediately. The bugs that were fixed include the following:
    • Striding across the leftmost (aggregated) dimension did not work correctly:
        f    = addfiles("file*07*.nc","r")
        xnew = f[:]->x(::5,:,:)

    • The second serious bug is that if the data extracted from the first file of an aggregated variable was reduced to a single value, the returned variable was incorrectly internally tagged as a oscalar. When accessed without subscripts, this had the strange effect of returning the proper number of elements but giving them all the value of the first element. Here's an example of the problem:
        fnames = (/ "", "" /)
        fp = addfiles(fnames, "r")
        days = fp[:]->days
        days = days / sum(days)

      Adding a subscript makes it work correctly:

         days(:) = days(:) / sum(days)
    • There was also a bug that resulted in files not being closed properly when the when the file list variable was deleted.

    These bugs have been fixed in V5.1.1.

    Bugs fixed

    • vinth2p, vinth2p_ecmwf, vintp2p_ecmwf

      A bug was discovered that affects the top two interpolated levels only. The underlying vinth2p, vinth2p_ecmwf, vintp2p_ecmwf codes were taken directly from the original CCM Processor (

      These subroutines have been used possibly since the late 1980s. Recently, Mark Branson (Colorado State University), was examining interpolated values at the uppermost interpolated levels. He discovered a bug.

      An example will be used to illustrate the bug:

      Consider temperatures [TM (K)] at the following model hybrid levels [PM (hPa)]:

                PM      TM        <=== Raw Data
              3.64    226.77
              7.59    225.53
             14.36    224.89
             24.61    221.39
             38.27    213.97
      Let's say that interpolation to the following pressure levels (PI) is desired:
              PI = (/ 5, 7, 10, 20, 30, 50, ...... /)
      The following shows the values interpolated by the vinth2p and vinth2p_ecmwf functions before (v5.1.0) and after (v5.1.1) the bug fix:

              PI    v5.1.0    v5.1.1    diff
               5    225.78    226.34   0.564
               7    225.59    225.72   0.129
              10    225.30    225.30   0.000 No differences
              20    222.96    222.96   0.000
      The differences could be 'small' or 'large'. It depends upon the vertical distribution of the variable.

    • wrf_user_unstagger had a bug with regard to getting the diagnostics "ua" and "va".

    • There was a bug in reading a character variable that contained a missing value off a NetCDF file. The missing value would not be set correctly.

    • Several functions (like sprinti and sprintf) had a bug that caused an input variable to incorrectly have an extra attribute added upon return.

    "shea_util.ncl" has new dependency

    If you are loading the "shea_util.ncl" script, then you will need to load "contributed.ncl" before "shea_util.ncl":

    load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/contributed.ncl"
    load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/shea_util.ncl"

    "shea_util" now depends on some functions in "contributed.ncl".

    Changes to WRAPIT

    For Linux and MacOS systems, the default fortran compiler used has been changed from "g77" to "gfortran". If you need to use the "g77" compiler, then use the new "-g77" option:

      WRAPIT -g77 your_file.f

    Deprecated functions

    These functions were deprecated. Use built-in functions str_switch, str_lower, str_upper, and str_sub_str.

    Version 5.1.0

    4 March 2009

    New map functionality

    New map databases have been added to NCL that provide improved map outlines, and new map outlines like the provinces of China, and the states of Brazil, India, and Australia. Some of the Antarctica ice shelves have also been added.

    Three new map projections have been provided as well: Hammer, Aitoff, and Winkel tripel.

    A new-and-improved Mollweide projection has been added that replaces the original Mollweide projection. The old Mollweide, like a true Mollweide, has an elliptical perimeter twice as wide as it is high (though with different dimensions) and its parallels are straight and horizontal, as in a true Mollweide, but the shapes of the land masses are noticeably different.

    You can get the original Mollweide projection back by setting the mpProjection resource to "PseudoMollweide".

    For some example scripts of these new features, see examples 16 through 19 at /Applications/maponly.shtml.

    New functions

    area_hi2lores, area_hi2lores_Wrap
    Interpolates from high resolution grids to low resolution grids using local area averaging.

    Calculates binned sums and counts over multiple invocations of the procedure.

    Calculate gridded binned averages and counts.

    cfftb, cfftf, cfftf_frq_reorder
    These functions perform forward/backward complex fourier transforms and reorder returned output to span -0.5 to 0.5.

    This function is basically identical to conform except that you pass in the dimension sizes of the new array size that you want to conform to, rather than the array itself. This method is preferable because you don't need to create the array before using this function.

    Calculates a covariance or correlation matrix.

    Compute cross products of multiple vectors of length 3.

    Calculates the height layer thicknesses at each grid point over varying surface terrain.

    Calculates the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a real matrix stored in symmetric storage mode.

    Generate a normal distribution give the mean and standard deviation.

    get_script_name and get_script_prefix_name
    These two built-in functions return the name of a script of commands for NCL to run, if provided, at the command line. get_script_prefix_name will strip any script name tag, if it exists.

    Note: get_script_name was originally an unadvertised function in the shea_util.ncl script, and behaved slightly different in that it returned only the prefix of the NCL script name. To get the behavior similar to this old version of the function, use the new get_script_prefix_name function, which doesn't require any script to be loaded in order to use it.

    This function creates a blank plot. This can be useful if you just need a canvas to draw on, or if you need to further annotate an existing plot.

    This function attaches a zonal means plot to the given map plot. This function is basically the equivalent of setting the special resource gsnZonalMean to True when calling gsn_csm_contour_map, so you don't need to call this function unless you want to attach a zonal means plot to a plot that wasn't created with gsn_csm_contour_map.

    Computes the Kronecker product for 2D matrices.

    Generates [sin(lat+dlat/2)-sin(lat-dlat/2) weights for equally spaced (regular) global grids that will sum to 2.0.

    Calculates space-time coherence-squared and phase using the array returned by mjo_cross_segment.

    Calculates space-time cross spectrum for a single time segment.

    Creates normalized cosine weights that sum to 2.0 just like gaussian weights. This function is not really new, but it was never documented before.

    Convert any numeric type to integer with options for rounding or truncation.

    Iterative correction objective analysis (Cressman, Barnes).

    Calculate the probability density distribution of a variable.

    Determine roots of a quadratic equation [ a*x^2 + b*x + c].

    Interpolates curvilinear grids (RCM, WRF, NARR) to user specified locations and retains meta data.

    Interpolates RCM, WRF and NARR grids to rectilinear lat/lon grid and retains meta data.

    Returns the indices (subscripts) of two-dimensional latitude/longitude arrays that span user specified latitude/longitude boundaries.

    Calculate relative humidity given temperature and dew point temperature.

    Within a string replace one character with another character.

    Interpolates a rectilinear lat/lon grid to curvilinear grids like those used by the RCM, WRF and NARR models/datasets and retains meta data.

    Converts values of type short to values of type float using the "scale" and "offset" attributes (if present).

    This function has been around awhile, but not documented.

    Computes Spearman rank order correlation coefficient.

    Places randomly-spaced data onto the nearest locations of a grid described by one-dimensional coordinate arrays and preserves meta data.

    utm2latlon, latlon2utm
    Functions for converting between UTM and lat/lon coordinates.

    Specialized 1-2-1 smoother associated with Wheeler-Kiladis space-time spectra.

    wkSpaceTime (wkSpaceTime_cam)
    Calculates Wheeler-Kiladis space-time spectra (using a generic CAM interface).

    wmvect, wmvectmap, wmvlbl
    These are basic functions primarily for use with non-gridded data. For gridded data then you could use a vector plot with vcGlyphStyle set to one of the appropriate styles.

    Converts a time variable from one set of units to another.

    Creates a one-dimensional array containing year-month-day [yyyymmdd] values.

    New and updated WRF-NCL functions

    Special thanks to Cindy Bruyere of NCAR/MMM for her development of the WRF-NCL visualization scripts, and to her and Soyoung Ha, also of NCAR/MMM, for the addition, overhaul, and extensive testing of the WRF-NCL analysis scripts.

    Calculates absolute vorticity from WRF model output.

    Computes maximum convective available potential energy (CAPE), maximum convective inhibition (CIN), lifted condensation level (LCL), and level of free convection (LFC).

    Computes convective available potential energy (CAPE) and convective inhibition (CIN).

    Calculates simulated equivalent radar reflectivity factor [dBZ] from WRF model output.

    Calculates equivalent potential temperature from WRF model output.

    Finds the nearest longitude, latitude locations to the specified model grid indices (i,j).

    Replaced with wrf_ll_to_ij

    Finds the nearest model grid indices (i,j) to the specified location(s) in longitude and latitude.

    wrf_overlays, wrf_map_overlays
    Functions to overlay multiple plots, created from other ARW WRF plot functions. These functions replace the soon-to-be-obsolete wrf_overlay and wrf_map_overlay procedures.

    Updated to handle missing data.

    Calculates potential vorticity from WRF model output.

    Updated to add several new diagnostics:
    • "avo" - absolute vorticity [10-5 s-1]
    • "cape_2d" - 2D fields mcape/mcin/lcl/lfc
    • "cape_3d" - 3D fields cape and cin
    • "dbz" - reflectivity [dBZ]
    • "mdbz" - maximum reflectivity [dBZ]
    • "geopt"/"geopotential" - full model geopotential [m2 s-2]
    • "lat" - latitude
    • "lon" - longitude
    • "p"/"pres" - full model pressure [Pa]
    • "pvo" - potential vorticity [PVU]
    • "rh2" - 2m relative humidity [%]
    • "ter" - model terrain height [m]
    • "uvmet" - U and V components of wind rotated to earth coordinates

    wrf_user_ll_to_ij, wrf_user_ij_to_ll
    Finds the nearest model grid indices (i,j) to the specified location(s) in longitude and latitude (and vice versa).

    Unstaggers an input variable along a specified dimension.

    wrf_interp_1d, wrf_interp_3d_z, wrf_rh, wrf_slp, wrf_td, wrf_tk, wrf_uvmet
    Updated to attach named dimensions to the output variable.

    New functionality

    This plotting function now recognizes the gsnMaximize resource.

    This function was updated to allow string input.

    Support added for GRIB2 files from NWS National Digital Forecast Database
    These files are available from (Thanks to Jennifer Adams, GrADS developer, for bringing them to our attention.)

    New and updated GRIB 1 NCEP tables
    Support was added for the following GRIB 1 tables: The following tables were extensively updated:

    New GRIB 1 and 2 file option TimePeriodSuffix
    A new file option for GRIB 1 and 2 files allows the user to suppress the time period suffix consisting of a numerical quantity and a units indicator (e.g. '6h', meaning a 6 hour time period) from the ends of statistically-processed varables. This allows a user to concatenate variables from different files that for reasons too complicated to go into here differ in the time period suffix, even though they are in fact simply different forecast times of the same variable. By default the value of this option is True, meaning that the suffix appears. Use setfileoption to set it False, which causes the time period suffix to be removed from all statistically-processed variables in NCL's representation of the file. The part of the suffix that indicates the type of statistical processing (e.g. '_acc', meaning accumulation) remains. Be aware that setting this option False can in some cases cause name collisions between variables that should be considered distinct. In this case, variable names after the first instance have an incrementing numerical suffix, beginning with '_1', appended to disambiguate the names.

    Simpler method for creating literal values for various integer types
    You can now create NCL variables of type long, short, and byte on the fly, using the special literals 'l', 'h', and 'b':

     long_var  = 32l
     short_var = 5h
     byte_var  = 2b
    Old way:

     long_var = new(1,long)
     long_var = 32
     short_var = inttoshort(5)
     byte_var = inttobyte(2)

    New option to ncl_filedump and ncl_convert2nc to support GRIB 1 and 2 option TimePeriodSuffix
    The option TimePeriodSuffix described above is supported in the NCL tools ncl_convert2nc and ncl_filedump as option
    The default value is True -- setting this option causes the time period suffix to be removed, as noted above.

    rcm2rgrid, rgrid2rcm, rcm2points
    These functions have been improved to make them significantly faster in the case where you have multiple grids to interpolate.

    Suffixes ".gr", ".gr1", and ".gr2" now recognized as GRIB 1 and 2 suffixes.

    New attribute "BinLocs" is returned, which is an array of the bin locations on the X axis.

    Support added for a convention of setting GRIB1 subcenter octet to 98 (the ECMWF center number)
    The French Weather Service apparently uses a convention of setting the GRIB1 subcenter octet to the ECMWF center number to indicate that even though the file is not generated by ECMWF it uses ECMWF parameter tables and local definitions. NCL adds knowledge of this convention to allow certain FWS files to be interpreted correctly. The convention is additionally honored for all ECMWF-associated countries and organizations on the theory that, even if it is only used in France, it is unlikely that the subcenter octet will be set to the value 98 for any other reason.

    This function was updated to recognize the grid destination (grd_dst) "1.9x2.5".

    Handles one-dimensional variables. Improved documentation

    ut_calendar / ut_inv_calendar
    These functions were updated to add recognition of calendars "360", "365" and "noleap". Thanks to David W. Pierce, the developer of ncview, for these additions.

    This ut_calendar function was also updated to add a new option for returning the dates as arrays of integers rather than floats.

    Major upgrade for "addfiles"

    The file list variable type, which references multiple files as the return value of the addfiles function, has new functionality. Conforming variables aggregated over the file set now are returned with attribute and coordinate variable metadata. Additionally, the leftmost aggregated dimension can now be subscripted correctly using integer, coordinate, or vector subscripting. However, there is currently one caveat for vector subscripts on the leftmost dimension: the array of vector subscripts must be non-decreasing. There can be repeated indexes but no index in the array can be less than a previous index. Hopefully, this restriction will be removed in a future release.

    This new functionality replaces the need for using addfiles_GetVar to retrieve variables from a span of files. It will also run faster and be more flexible.

    New color tables

    New resources

    gsnAboveYRefLineBarFillScales / gsnBelowYRefLineBarFillScales
    If gsnYRefLine is set, gsnXYBarChart is set to True, and gsnAboveYRefLineBarPatterns and/or gsnBelowYRefLineBarPatterns are set, then this resource indicates what fill scales to use for the fill patterns. Values less than 1.0 give you a more dense pattern.

    This resource allows you to specify which plot being passed to gsn_panel is to be used to determine the scale factor for resizing all the plots. This is useful if the first plot is smaller than of the other plots in the list.

    This resource will not be useful if your plots are very different in size.

    gsnPolarTime / gsnPolarUT
    These resources allow you to turn on labeling using local time instead of longitude labels, for plots generated by one of the gsn_csm_xxxx_polar functions.

    gsnXYFillColors, gsnXYAboveFillColors, gsnXYBelowFillColors
    These resources can be used to fill between Y curves in an XY plot generated by gsn_csm_xy. See example 24 on the XY applications page.

    This resource allows you to change the ordering of legend items. See example 9 on the legend applications page for an example.

    Updated resources

    If this resource is set to True, then a zonal mean XY plot will be drawn next to a contour/map plot. This resource has been around for awhile for the gsn_csm_contour_map_ce function, and it now works for the gsn_csm_contour_map function (polar plots excepted).

    This resource is now recognized by the XyPlot, and hence if set to True, markers that fall outside the plotting area will be clipped. Note: to maintain backwards compatibility, this resource defaults to False for xy plots.

    Bug fixes

    cssgrid, csc2s
    Fixed a bug in which if some of the input data arrays contained missing values, they were not being ignored as advertised.

    Fixed a bug which occurred when the surface pressure was exactly 1000hPa or 100000Pa.

    This function is actually called "eof_varimax_reorder" in versions 4.3.1 and 5.0.0. It was supposed to be "eofunc_varimax_reorder"; this has been fixed in 5.1.0.

    gsn_csm routines that overlay vectors/streamlines and contours on the same plot.

    Fixed a problem where the gsnAddCyclic resource was not always being set correctly in gsn_csm functions that overlay both contours and vectors in a single plot (gsn_csm_streamline_contour_map, gsn_csm_vector_scalar, gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_ce, etc).

    RasterFill contour mode
    Fixed a bug that sometimes resulted in the data cells being slightly misaligned when plotted over a global map when in raster fill mode without smoothing. Also fixed a problem that caused irregular coordinates to be treated as regularly spcaed when they were close (but not close enough) to a regular spacing.

    Memory bug
    Fixed a significant bug that resulted in an unnecessary copy of a data variable when assigned to a file variable with the (/ /) syntax (to indicate that attributes are not to be copied). Even if you specify that you don't want attributes written, NCL still needs to check to make sure the _FillValue attributes are the same. If not, then it doesn't try to change the file variable fill value (because you are not copying attributes), but instead it has to make a copy of the variable you are assigning in order to ensure that its missing values are updated to match the fill value that is assigned to the file variable.

    The logic was wrong and it was copying the variable even when the fill values were the same.

    GRIB 1 reader
    1. Fixed a bug that resulted in incorrect coordinates being generated for Lambert Conformal grids over the Southern hemisphere.
    2. In order to fix a problem reading WRF GRIB files, if a GRIB record has the grid number octet set to 0, it is treated as meaning the same as if it were set to 255. Both these values are now assumed to mean that the grid is defined in the GDS (Grid Description Section) part of the GRIB record. This change will be visible to users: it will result in changes to the names of dimensions, coordinate variables, and regular variables. Note that the developers of the WRF GRIB output code have a agreed that setting this octet to 0 is an error on their part and that in the future it will be set to 255. This change to NCL ensures that current and future WRF GRIB files will have the same naming scheme when opened in NCL.
    3. Modified the scaling of certain instances of the 'Dx' and 'Dy' coordinate variable attributes to ensure that the units for these values can uniformly be assumed to be in meters. Prior to the change, in a few cases the units were kilometers.
    4. Fixed a problem that resulted in a core dump when the record representing the first horizontal slice of a variable array was missing.

    GRIB 2 reader
    1. Modified the way the GRIB2 codetable path is determined. Now if the NIO_GRIB2_CODETABLES environment variable is set it takes precedence over the common path found through NCARG_ROOT.
    2. Fixed a problem that resulted in a core dump when the record representing the first horizontal slice of a variable array was missing.

    NetCDF reader/writer
    Fixed a problem that occurred when a single execution of NCL results in more than 32767 separate NetCDF file opens and closes. The id returned by the NetCDF library can become a negative value in this case. NCL was treating this condition as an error when it is actually legitimate.

    OPeNDAP-enabled versions of NCL
    Fixed a bug that resulted in the following error when exiting NCL after opening any local NetCDF file or any remote file served by OPeNDAP:
    ncclose: ncid 0: NetCDF: Not a valid ID
    If a local file is opened for writing this error could result in loss of data in the file. The workaround for earlier versions of NCL is either to ensure that all NCL file variables are deleted before exiting, or, to use setfileoption to set both the options DefineMode and SuppressClose to False.

    Problem involving files with very large dimensions (larger than around 10 million elements)
    Fixed a bug that resulted in the return of incorrect data when requesting a variable subset from a file where one of the dimensions has more than around 10 million elements.

    Version 5.0.0

    6 November 2007

    Open source

    This is our first official open source release for NCL.

    This release also includes full source code and binaries for NCAR Graphics, so you no longer have to install the two packages separately.

    New tool for checking validity of SCRIP input grid files

    A new tool called "scrip_check_input" tests whether the coordinates of all cells in a SCRIP input grid file are entered in counterclockwise order and also tests whether the cell centers are in the interior or on the boundary of the cells.

    New functions

    Generate unique, random integer subscripts.

    Suite of color conversion functions

    hlsrgb - Converts HLS color values to RGB.
    hsvrgb - Converts HSV color values to RGB.
    rgbhls - Converts RGB color values to HLS.
    rgbhsv - Converts RGB color values to HSV.
    rgbyiq - Converts RGB color values to YIQ.
    yiqrgb - Converts YIQ color values to RGB.

    This is not a new function, but one that hadn't been documented. It allows you to maximize the size of plots that have been drawn in a single frame.

    A new version of the exit procedure that allows the user to pass an exit status code to the operating system.

    Interpolates data at multidimensional pressure levels to constant pressure coordinates and uses an ECMWF formulation to extrapolate values below ground.

    New functionality

    stat2, stat4, stat_medrng, stat_trim, dim_stat4
    These functions were updated so that if a subsection of the input is all missing, a fatal error is no longer issued. Rather, all missing values will be returned in the appropriate locations in the output array.
    This function was updated to allow the user to turn off paging of output from this command, if desired.
    New resources

    This resource allows you to select from among three styles for the ends of contour plot labelbar. The cnLabelBarEndLabelsOn resource is now deprecated and replaced with this one.
    Performance enhancements

    • The GRIB code was improved to eliminate unnecessary memory usage when reading a variable that contains "missing" records. (Missing records occur when a GRIB file does not have records corresponding to all the elements of its dimensions as defined by NCL.) Formerly NCL created an array filled with missing values for each missing record. Now it only creates a single such array for each distinct grid in the file and shares this array among all the missing records of each variable that shares the grid.

    • Along with the above change, the ncl_convert2nc script was modified to copy very large variables in multiple chunks using loops and subscripting. Given large enough variables (greater than 250 MB), this can dramatically reduce memory requirements on the system without adversely affecting execution time.

    Bug fixes

    • wmstnm - correction to the wind barb directions when station model data is displayed over a map.

    • v5d_write - fixed a bug whereby input values for the number of timesteps and the number of variables were tested improperly. Documentation has been updated to reflect this fix, and the proper calling sequence for this function.

    • The NCL object table code was reworked to remove a limit of 2^31 - 1 on the total number of objects that could be created. The table was also reconfigured to improve performance for complex scripts where very large numbers of objects are created.

    • The exit procedure now ensures that graphics and data files are properly closed before NCL's execution ends.

    Version 4.3.1

    10 August 2007

    ARW WRF functions

    Added a suite of routines to aid in visualizing ARW WRF model data.

      wrf_contour - Creates a contour plot from ARW WRF model output.
      wrf_map - Creates a map background for ARW WRF model data.
      wrf_map_overlay - Overlays different plot id's over a map background.
      wrf_map_zoom - Zooms into a portion of the ARW WRF model domain, and creates a map background.
      wrf_overlay - Overlays multiple plots, created from other ARW WRF plot functions.
      wrf_user_getvar - Extracts data from ARW WRF model output, and does basic diagnostics calculations.
      wrf_user_intrp3d - Interpolates ARW WRF model data vertically or horizontally.
      wrf_latlon_to_ij (built-in function) - updated to return missing values if any of the input lat/lon values are out-of-range.
      wrf_user_list_times - Extracts the list of available times in the ARW WRF model output.
      wrf_vector - Creates a vector plot from ARW WRF model output.

    Partial support for NetCDF 4

    For some systems (*), you can now specify a "Format" of "NetCDF4Classic" in the setfileoption procedure to create a file using the NetCDF 4 classic model format. The classic model constrains the interface to the constructs provided by NetCDF 3 and earlier. However, the underlying file format, like that of all NetCDF 4 files, is HDF 5. Files written in this format can take advantage of the built-in file compression available in HDF 5. Use the "CompressionLevel" option to enable compression. Also the HDF 5 format removes virtually all restrictions on file and individual variable size. NCL version 4.3.1 provides beta-level support for this format because NetCDF 4 and the release of HDF 5 that it depends on are both still in the beta-testing phase of development. It should probably not be used for mission-critical file creation.

    This option is not required for reading NetCDF 4 classic files. If your version of NCL supports NetCDF 4 (*), then it will be able to automatically detect whether you have a NetCDF 3 or 4 file.

    (*) Some systems (like any 64-bit system) do not have support for NetCDF 4 because the NetCDF 4 software has not yet been ported and/or tested on those systems. You can quickly tell if your version of NCL has NetCDF 4 support by running ncl interactively and typing one line:

    If you get a warning message:
    warning:FileSetFileOption: invalid value supplied for option format
    then your version of NCL does not have NetCDF 4 support. If your version does have NetCDF 4 support, then you can further control the level of compression with:
    The third argument can be any value from 1 to 9, where 9 is the highest level of compression. See the setfileoption documentation for more information.

    New functions

    Computes the weighted sum of a variable's rightmost dimension at all other dimensions *and* retains metadata.

    Reorder the results returned by eof_varimax into descending order by percent variance explained.

    Calculates one-dimensional filter weights. This is not a new function, but a renaming of the old filwgts_lancos function. The old function will remain intact for backwards compatibility.

    Computes the weighted sum of a variable's rightmost dimension at all other dimensions and retains metadata.

    Suite of gc_xxxx functions

    gc_aangle - finds the acute angle between two great circles on the globe.
    gc_clkwise - tests clockwise/counterclockwise ordering of points on spherical polygon.
    gc_dangle - finds the directed angle between two great circles having a specified intersection point.
    gc_inout - determines if a specified point is inside or outside of a spherical polygon.
    gc_onarc - determines if a point on the globe lies on a specified great circle arc.
    gc_pnt2gc - finds the angular distance from a point to a great circle.
    gc_qarea - finds the area of a quadrilateral patch on the unit sphere.
    gc_tarea - finds the area of a triangular patch on the unit sphere.

    Retrieves the missing value of a variable; otherwise, it returns the default _FillValue.

    Replaces all _FillValue values in a grid with values derived from solving Poisson's equation via relaxation.

    Low-level three-dimensional visualization routines

    A suite of 3D visualization routines based on the low-level TDPACK package were added. There are too many to list here, but you can see them by visiting the graphics routines page, and looking at the functions that start with "td".

    New functionality

    • betainc - missing values are now recognized and handled accordingly.

    • write_matrix - updated to handle data of type short and byte.

    • setfileoption - fundamental change in the writing of netCDF files - the "SuppressClose" and "DefineMode" options now both default to True. Also, the addition of the "NetCDF4Classic" value for the "Format" option. See the section on partial support for NetCDF 4.

      In previous versions, when you wrote data to a netCDF file, the netCDF file was opened and closed before and after every write. You could turn this off by using setfileoption to set the "SuppressClose" option to True. This is now the default, which should improve performance.

      In previous versions, also, the "DefineMode" option was set to False by default, which meant that each write operation was performed atomically. It now defaults to True, which can improve performance dramatically if care is taken to define all dimensions, attributes, and variables and assign attribute values before writing actual data to the file.

    • stringtodouble - updated to recognize 'd' and 'D' as additional double-specific exponent specifiers optionally substituting for 'e' and 'E'.

    • New options "-itime" and "-ftime" in ncl_convert2nc and ncl_filedump
    New resources

    • gsnDebugWriteFileName - a resource to help facilitate the debugging of NCL gsn_xxxx and gsn_csm_xxxx visualization scripts.

      If you set this resource to a string and rerun the plotting script you are having problems with, then it will write the data being plotting and the plot resources and their values to a new netCDF file. It will also create a new NCL script that reads in this new netCDF file and sets all the same plot options, so that your plot can be recreated identically. This prevents users from having to send us their full scripts and data. The new files will be called, xxx.ncl, and xxx.res, where xxx is what the resource is set to.

      To use this resource before version 4.3.1 is available, download gsn_code.ncl.debug and gsn_csm.ncl.debug, put them in $NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm (or wherever you want), and then load these scripts instead of the original ones:

        load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl.debug"
        load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_csm.ncl.debug"
      Rerun your script with res@gsnDebugWriteFileInfo set to whatever string you like, and then you can give us the resultant new netCDF and NCL script.
    Bugs fixed

    • ShadeCOI - fixed a bug in which the function would fail if the input "time" variable was not a float.

    • triple2grid - fixed a serious bug. Please see the function documentation for more information.

    • Fixed a problem encountered in reading a netCDF file where the data variable type was float, there was no _FillValue, but there was a missing_value attribute of type double. Since "MissingToFillValue" is True by default, NCL was creating a virtual _FillValue of the same type and value as the missing_value. This resulted in NCL becoming confused when the file variable was assigned to a regular variable because the _FillValue attribute of regular variables is not allowed to be anything other than the same type as the variable.

      This is being fixed by overriding the MissingToFillValue setting and refusing to create the virtual _FillValue. The following warning is issued for each such variable:

          warning:NetOpenFile: MissingToFillValue option set True, but missing_value
          attribute and data variable (x) types differ: not adding virtual _FillValue

    • Fixed a problem with reading a NetCDF file when a 1D variable and a dimension name have the same name, but the 1D variable is not a coordinate variable and is a different size from the dimension it shares a name with.

    • Fixed a problem in the GRIB1 reader that resulted in a core dump when reading files that contain GDS grids of the same type but different sizes.

    Version 4.3.0

    1 May 2007

    New GRIB2 reader

    This version of NCL includes a new GRIB2 reader. GRIB2 files are supported by addfile, addfiles, ncl_filedump, and ncl_convert2nc.

    Detailed information is available in the "Information on supported data formats" section of the NCL Reference Manual.

    New features available for both GRIB 1 and 2

    • NCL now supports GRIB files containing ensemble forecasts with multiple ensemble members or probability forecasts (which are derived from ensemble forecasts) with multiple thresholds. These files are represented with an "ensemble" or "probability" dimension. Actually the ensemble dimension (but not the probability dimension) has been available since 4.2.0.a34 but was inadvertently not mentioned in those release notes. These dimensions will be described in more detail in the "Information on supported data formats" section of the NCL Reference Manual.

    • A new GRIB file option named "SingleElementDimensions" allows the user to specify that variables with only a single initial time, forecast time, level, ensemble or probability value, usually handled as attributes, be treated as containing single element dimensions. The option allows any or all of these attributes to be turned into dimensions provided they have an actual value. This is described in more detail in the setfileoption procedure documentation.

    Important changes to the GRIB1 reader interface - PLEASE READ

    • Fundamental change to reading of GRIB1 files - the default type for the "initial_time" coordinate array has been changed from "string" to "numeric".

      Prior to version 4.3.0, NCL used an array of strings to represent the coordinate values of an initial time dimension. This representation proved to be problematic, both because it did not conform to standard CF and COARDS conventions, and because it was difficult to use in a context where numerical properties such as monotonicity were usually expected.

      To change the type back to "string", you can set the "InitialTimeCoordinateType" option in the setfileoption procedure:

        setfileoption ("grb","InitialTimeCoordinateType","string")
    • Change to default algorithm used for dealing with thinned grids on a GRIB file - the default used to be linear interpolation, but since cubic interpolation has been shown to produce better results, we've made cubic interpolation the default.

      To change the type back to "linear", you can set the "ThinnedGridInterpolation" option in the setfileoption procedure:

        setfileoption ("grb","ThinnedGridInterpolation","linear")
      "Linear" is still the default for bitmask arrays.

    Possible incompatible change to getFillValue function

    Prior to version 4.3.0, getFillValue would return the default _FillValue if a variable did not have _FillValue associated with it.

    For example, in the line below:

      q = new( 10, typeof(w), getFillValue(w))
    if "w" is of type "float" and if "w" did not have a _FillValue, then getFillValue would return the _FillValue for a variable of type "float". Hence, q@_FillValue = -999. In some cases this result was not desired.

    In release a034, the string "No_FillValue" was introduced for use within the new statement. Use of "No_FillValue" as the third argument of new would result in no _FillValue being assigned to "q".

    A side effect of this new behavior is that the following will result in a fatal error:

      q@_FillValue = getFillValue(w)
    if the variable has no _FillValue associated with it. The reason is the the string "No_FillValue" can not be assigned to "q" unless q is of type string.

    It should be noted that getFillValue was only intended to be used within the new statement.

    Other changes to the GRIB1 reader

    • The GRIB1 reader can now handle files that are greater than 2GB in size.

    • The built-in GRIB1 parameter tables describing data from the DWD (German National Meteorological Service) have been updated to reflect new variables. As well, new tables have been added. These updated and new tables are referenced in the NCL Reference Manual section for GRIB data.

    • NCL now recognizes a DWD-specific extension that allows it to distinguish between satellite image records that all have the same parameter number and parameter table version.

    • NCL also recognizes the DWD convention for specifying hybrid level values.

    • The GRIB1 reader has been modified to handle varying time units for variables that have records with different time units indicators. See:

      If in parsing a record that belongs to a particular variable it encounters a time unit indicator different from the established indicator, it compares them and chooses the one with the shortest duration to be the common unit. Then it sets the time period for each record based on converting it into the common units. For periods of a month or greater, this is currently not entirely accurate, because it is based on a year of 365.25 days and the average number of hours in a month. However, because no files of this type have yet been encountered (and may never be), it does not seem worthwhile to develop anything more accurate at this point. The code does print warnings (probably too many) if this situation is encountered.

    • The GRIB1 reader prints more variable attributes. An attribute called parameter_table_version contains the parameter table version to which the variable parameter number belongs. If forecast_time is an attribute (no forecast_time dimension is associated with the variable) an associated attribute called forecast_time_units gives the units of the forecast_time value.

    New functions

    Calculates the cumulative sum.
    dim_cumsum (dim_cumsum_Wrap)
    Calculates the cumulative sum along the rightmost dimension (and retains metadata).
    dpres_plevel (dpres_plevel_Wrap)
    Calculates the pressure layer thicknesses of a constant pressure level coordinate system (and retains metadata).
    Performs a two-dimensional discrete backward Fourier transform (Fourier synthesis).
    Performs a two-dimensional discrete forward Fourier transform (i.e., Fourier analysis) of a real periodic array
    Shades contour regions given low and/or high values using colors or patterns.
    Draws a table with text.
    Determines indices of locations closest to a coordinate array.
    Returns the indices corresponding to the location of the substring, if it is a subset of the other given string.
    Returns True or False if one string is a subset of another string.
    Emulates the Fortran "mod" intrinsic function.
    Prints the minimum and maximum values of a variable.
    Calculates the two-tailed probability of the Student-t distribution.
    Performs array assignments based on a conditional array.

    New functionality

    This function was updated to allow "phis" to be three dimensions.
    The scaled eigenvalues are now returned.
    Previously, this function (a) did not return the percent variance explained and (b) did not allow missing (_FillValues). Both issues have been addressed. Additional options have been added to specify the form of the returned matrix.
    fbindirread, fbindirwrite, fbinrecread, fbinrecwrite, fbinnumrec
    These functions were updated to allow reads and writes of files that are greater than 2 GB in size. Note that this change allows you to access records that occur past the 2 GB point in the file, but not to read into variables that would be larger than 2 GB. Thus, there is no improvement to cbinread, cbinwrite, fbinread, fbinwrite because they read/write the complete file starting from the beginning into or out of a single variable.
    Added three new attributes: BeginBarLocs, MidBarLocs, and EndBarLocs. See histogram example 12 for usage.
    If the intflg argument is set to one,values outside of the input pressure range will be set to the values of the closest input pressure value.
    Updated so that if no _FillValue or missing_value attribute is present, it does not return a _FillValue.
    Now allows two options for extrapolating the data.
    print, printVarSummary, printFileVarSummary
    All the printing procedures have been updated to print the actual values of array-valued attributes instead of the notation <ARRAY> as long as the array has 10 or fewer elements.
    This function was updated to allow "datai" to be five dimensions.
    Recognizes data with missing values and does not plot wind barbs in those places. Also, can now input arrays of any dimension.
    Recognizes data with missing values and does not plot wind barbs in those places.

    New resources

    Allows you to set a dash pattern for contour lines above the value 0.0.
    gsnPanelXF, gsnPanelYF
    Allows you to change the X and Y positions of the upper left corner of individual plots in a set of paneled plots. See example 19 in the panel applications page.
    If set to True, turns on debug information for gsn_panel. See example 19 in the panel applications page.

    New color tables

    Important bug fixes

    Fix to annoying "<identifier> IS A FUNCTION NOT A PROCEDURE" fatal error mesage.
    Before this version, if you called an NCL function but treated it as a procedure (i.e. didn't assign it to a variable), you would get a useless error message:
    fatal:syntax error: <identifier> IS A FUNCTION NOT A PROCEDURE
    This has been fixed so you should now get the name of the function, as well as the line number it occurred on. For example:

    ncl 0> abs(-1)
    fatal:syntax error: abs is a function not a procedure; return value must be referenced
    fatal:error at line 0
    ncl 1> 

    Bug in clmMon2clmDay
    The linint1_Wrap function was invoked prior to being loaded within contributed.ncl. This will be fixed in 4.3.0, but you can fix it yourself by moving clmMon2clmDay after linint1_Wrap is defined.

    Bug in dtrend and dtrend_msg
    If return_info was set to True, and the input y was double and had more than one dimension, then you would get a segmentation fault or incorrect results.

    Bug in reading HDF variable attributes of type string that have null characters in them.
    If NCL read in an HDF file that had an attribute with null characters in it, then the attribute value was truncated at that first null character. This bug has been fixed, and the null characters are replaced with a single space (but only if there are more non-null characters after it).

    Memory leak fixed
    A user reported a memory leak problem in which the way you implement a logical expression in an "if" statement had a serious effect on your code if executed multiple times. The code:
       if (flags(x)) then
    was not working as efficiently as this code:
       if (flags(x).eq.True) then

    Optimization problem (not a bug!) with hyi2hyo on Linux systems.
    There was an odd optimization problem with hyi2hyo on Linux systems that would cause it to think you were trying to pass in a 1D array for xi, when you indeed had a 3D array.

    Bug in lspoly
    lspoly would only work if the input was float or double.

    Bug in 'mpSpecifiedFill[Colors,Patterns,Scales] resources
    The mpSpecifiedFillColors, mpSpecifiedFillPatterns, and mpSpecifiedFillScales resources were not working because of changes introduced to handle subarea group designators such as "counties" and "states".

    Bug in numAsciiRow
    If you call numAsciiRow, it may appear to hang. This will be fixed in 4.3.0, but you can fix it yourself by editing the file:
    and changing the line:
      nrow_s    = systemfunc("'wc' -l" + fNam +" | awk '{print $1}'" )
    to have a space after the "-l":
      nrow_s    = systemfunc("'wc' -l " + fNam +" | awk '{print $1}'" )
    Bug in rtest
    rtest did not check the size of the Nr argument. Now if Nr<3 the returned value(s) will be set to the appropriate _FillValue.

    Version 4.2.0.a034

    26 September 2006

    New applications

    Converts one or more GRIB, HDF and/or HDF-EOS files to netCDF formatted files. Note: this application is replacing ncl_grib2nc which has been deprecated in this release.

    New functions

    Attaches [appends] additional records [leftmost dimension] to a previously existing array.

    Calculates the probability given a t-value and the degrees of freedom.

    Calculates the t-value given the probability and the degrees of freedom.

    Creates a daily climatology from a monthly climatology.

    Deletes one or more attributes associated with a variable.

    dim_avg_wgt and dim_avg_wgt_Wrap
    Computes the weighted average of a variable's rightmost dimension at all other dimensions. The _Wrap version of this function retains metadata.

    Computes the weighted sum of a variable's rightmost dimension at all other dimensions. dim_sum_wgt_Wrap, which retains metadata, was inadvertently not added in this version. (It will be added in version 4.3.1.) If you need this function, email Dennis Shea.

    Evaluates the real error function and the real complementary error function respectively.

    Returns the suffix of a file name.

    Adds an annotation to a plot.

    Creates a labelbar. This function is similar to the procedure gsn_labelbar_ndc, except it returns the id of the labelbar, which can then be used with functions like gsn_add_annotation.

    Creates a legend. This function is similar to the procedure gsn_legend_ndc, except it returns the id of the legend, which can then be used with functions like gsn_add_annotation.

    Returns True if you are on a big endian machine.

    Checks one-dimensional array for monoticity.

    Loads the given NCL script.

    Calculates a set of coefficients for a weighted least squares polynomial fit to the given data.

    Checks two-dimensional latitude and longitude arrays for "nice" structure.

    pres2hybrid and pres2hybrid_Wrap
    Interpolates data on constant pressure levels to hybrid levels.

    Computes ocean water density given a specified range for potential temperature (deg Celisus) and salinity (psu).

    Computes convective available potential energy (CAPE), convective inhibition (CIN), lifted condensation level (LCL), and level of free convection (LFC).

    Computes convective available potential energy (CAPE) and convective inhibition (CIN).

    Calculates the corresponding temperature, density, and height based on the 1976 U.S. standard atmosphere, given the pressure.

    Calculates the corresponding temperature, density, and pressure based on the 1976 U.S. standard atmosphere, given the height.

    Returns the length of a string variable.

    Attaches [appends] additional rows to a previously existing two-dimensional [table] array.

    Computes weighted vertical average or sum using pressure thickness and beta factors.

    wrf_rh, wrf_tk
    Calculate relative humidity and temperature from WRF model output.

    Converts a one dimensional array containing yyyymmdd values to yyyy and fractional year.

    Converts a one dimensional array containing yyyymmddhh values to yyyy and fractional year.

    New functionality

    new statement
    The new statement has a new value you can use for the optional third argument: "No_FillValue". If you set this, then the variable created by new will not have a _FillValue attribute attached to it, and the values in the variable will be undefined.

    NCL can now parse MS-DOS style end-of-line characters.
    These characters sometimes show up as "^M" or "\r" characters in certain ASCII editors.

    Strings in NCL can now be longer than 256 characters.
    NCL was updated so that you can now have strings longer than 256 characters, within the memory limitations of the system, of course. Note that symbols (variable, dimension, and attribute names) still are limited in length to 256 characters.

    abs and fabs
    The abs function will supercede fabs, as it will accept all supported numeric data types, and its return value will be of the same type as its input. Function fabs will continue to be available, and support the float and double data types only.

    This function was updated to allow multi-dimensional input for the latitude, longitude arrays.

    This function was updated to include two more options: DefaultNCEPPTable and MissingToFillValue.

    stat2, stat4, stat_trim, stat_medrng
    These functions were updated to allow numeric input, and float or double output.

    This function was updated to allow the third argument to be multi-dimensional.

    This function was updated to allow the first argument to have up to 5 dimensions.

    New resources

    mpMaskOutlineSpecifiers and mpOutlineMaskingOn.
    These resources allow you to turn on map outline masking and indicate which outlined map areas you want to "mask" from your plot. They should be used in conjunction with mpOutlineSpecifiers and/or mpOutlineBoundarySets.

    Important bug fixes

    Bug in exp_tapersh procedure
    We fixed a bug in which if your input values were not double, the weights aren't being applied to the data, and hence you got the same values back.

    Bug in single value coordinate subscripting, when coordinate values were decreasing.

    We fixed a bug in which if you had decreasing coordinate array values, and you selected a single value using coordinate subscripting, NCL was returning the wrong closest index.

    Bug in coordinate array returned for a variable that was created by reversing the stride of an existing variable, e.g. b = a(1::-2)
    We fixed the above bug, and it will be in the next release of NCL.

    Bug in line number reporting for NCL error messages.
    Sometimes the line numbers for NCL error messages were off by one. This has been fixed in this release.

    Bug if you didn't have a newline after the very last line in your NCL script.
    In previous versions of NCL, if you didn't have a after the very last line in your NCL script, you would get a confusing and fatal error message:
    fatal:syntax error: line -1 before or near  

    This has been fixed in this release, and you won't get any error message.

    Bug in shsgC/shsgc
    A user discovered a bug in these functions that would cause NaNs (not-a-number) to be returned if the input variable was over a certain size. The latest version of the Spherepack library (V3.1) fixes this problem, so we incorporated this library into this version of NCL.

    GRIB bugs
    There was a "bug" encountered with the monthly GODAS files where monthly average variables were given different names depending on the number of days in the month. Now, if the calculations work out properly to show that the first day of the time period is the 1st day of the month and the last day of the time period is the last day of the month, then the suffix applied is "ave1m" instead of "aveXXd". Leap years are accounted for.

    There was a bug in GRIB code's handling of time indicator index 10 in which the indicator index wasn't being tacked on to the variable name.

    Paging bug with print functions
    If you used printing functions like print or printVarSummary interactively in version a033, the output would scroll continuously and not allow paging.

    Bug with setting NCL_DEF_SCRIPTS_DIR or NCL_DEF_LIB_DIR to invalid directories.
    If you set the environment variables NCL_DEF_SCRIPTS_DIR or NCL_DEF_LIB_DIR to invalid directories, you may get a bus error or a segmentation fault, followed by a core dump. To work around this problem, don't set these environment variables, or set them to valid directories.

    Bug in with using markers in an XY plot when missing values were present.
    We fixed a bug in which if you were generating an XY plot with markers, and your X or Y values contained missing values, the markers were still appearing.

    Version 4.2.0.a033

    23 January 2006

    Command line arguments and options The next version of NCL will have a long-requested enhancement added, and that is the ability to include options and arguments on the NCL command line. For more information and some examples, see the "Command line arguments and options" section in the NCL Reference Manual.

    Command line tools

    Prints the contents of supported files (netCDF, HDF, GRIB, HDF-EOS2, and CCM History Tape).

    Converts NCL-supported GRIB files to netCDF-formatted files.

    New functions
    Calculates daily anomalies from a daily climatology.

    Performs canonical correlation analysis between two sets of variables.

    Calculates daily climatology from daily mean data.

    These procedures toggle the echoing of NCL statements as they are encountered. You can use them in conjunction with the new "-x" command line option.

    Generates a "nice" 2D array of pseudo random data, especially for use in 2D graphics.

    Creates and draws an XY plot with three different Y axes.

    This function is similar to gsn_csm_xy2 except it allows three vertical scales for three different quantities.

    hyi2hyo, hyi2hyo_Wrap
    Interpolates from data on one set of hybrid levels to data another set of hybrid levels.

    local_min_1d, local_max_1d
    Determines the relative minima/maxima for a 1-dimensional array.

    omega_ccm, omega_ccm_driver
    Calculates omega (vertical pressure velocity) using the model diagnostic method.

    Compress (pack) values of type float or double to values of type short or byte.

    This procedure allows the user to set a number of file-format-specific options. It has an option to determine the algorithm used for expanding thinned data from a GRIB file, an option for indicating whether a binary file should be read or written as big endian or little endian, and several options for the writing of netCDF files which can significantly speed up this process.

    shsgc_R42, shsgc_R42_Wrap
    Computes spherical harmonic synthesis of a scalar quantity via rhomboidally truncated (R42) spherical harmonic coefficients onto a (108x128) gaussian grid.

    Calculates a smooth mean daily annual cycle.

    Creates a one-dimensional array containing year-month [yyyymm] values.

    Converts a one dimensional array containing yyyymm values to yyyy and fractional year [eg: 1973.25]. Most frequently used to create a one-dimensional array used for "x-y" plots.

    Computes the geostrophic zonal and meridional wind components using geopotential height.

    New functionality

    This function has been enhanced in the reading of float values to avoid treating "nan" or "inf" as numeric values if they occur as part of a word such as "nanny" or "infidel".

    Made this function more flexible; it can now handle the tasks that copy_VarCoords_1 and copy_VarCoords_2 used to do.

    A new resource called gsnHistogramBarWidthPercent has been created that allows you to specify the width of the histogram bars as a percentage of the width of the bin that it falls in. The values must be in the range 0 to 100, and they must be smaller for comparison histograms.

    New map projections
    Two new map projections have been added, "CylindricalEqualArea" and "RotatedMercator". For more information, see the mpProjection resource in the list of map (mp) resources.

    Line resources in map (mp) resources
    Enabled support for the "transparent" color index for the following map line resources:
    Any gsn_csm non-map plotting script.

    Previously, for functions like gsn_csm_vector and gsn_csm_contour, the special "lat2d" and "lon2d" attributes were not recognized. This is because generally, you only want to use this kind of information when you are creating a contour or vector plot over map.

    However, if you want to overlay multiple contour and/or vector plots on a map, you need to be able to create them using gsn_csm_vector and gsn_csm_contour so you can then use them in an overlay call.

    So, the "lat2d" and "lon2d" special attributes are now recognized by these kind of gsn_csm routines.

    natgrid, natgrids, natgridd
    These functions now do automatic culling of duplicate input coordinate points. Given this, the previous "dup" parameter has been made obsolete.

    Added a "-c" option that flags psplit to simply report the number of pages in the input file and exit.

    Printing strings that contain missing values.
    If you try to concatenate a value that a missing to a valid string, and then print the string, you would getting nothing but a missing value:
      x = new(1,float)
      print("x = " + x)
    would produce:
    (0)     -999
    With the next release of NCL, you will get:
    (0)     x = -999

    Important bug fixes

    The version of eofunc in Version 4.2.0.a032 had an error. The exact nature of the error was never determined. Prior to release in a032, the eofunc function had been tested by five different people and all agreed it was correct. After release of a032, some users reported small differences with previous results. One user reported a major problem. As a result, the eofunc documentation was modified to include a notice printed in red that recommended that users use the older eofcov or eofcor functions.

    The new eofunc included in a033 uses a completely different program to calculate EOFs.

    GRIB reader
    In the last release (4.2.0.a032) of NCL, two new time variables were introduced for GRIB data being read in. Of these, the new variable "initial_time0_hours" (units: "hours since 1800-01-01 00:00") was found to be off by 48 hours. The other time related variables "initial_time0_encoded" (units "yyyymmddhh.hh_fraction") and "initial_time0" (units "mm/dd/yyyy (hh:mm)") are correct.

    This "off by 48 hours" has been fixed for a033.

    The a032 temporary work-around was as follows: for times after 1900-01-01 00:00, 48 hours had to be added to the values returned by NCL.

    The second "fix" to the GRIB reader was not so much a fix as a removal of a hard-coded upper limit for the size of lat/lon arrays for thinned grids.

    This function was not correctly handling the case where a whole row of points was missing.

    A problem was fixed in which the following short script was using up a bunch of memory:
     do i = 0,200 
      x1D = new((/4000000/),integer) 
      x1D = 1 
     end do 

    This function was not working correctly if the leftmost dimension of B was not the same as the rightmost dimension.

    Fixed a bug where this resource was not taking effect when in curly vector mode.

    Version 4.2.0.a032

    6 December 2004

    New and updated functionality

    • Contouring non-uniform grids

      In recent years, many new non-uniform grids have become popular and these are being processed by new algorithms to reduce them to triangle meshes and to contour directly on these triangles, rather than interpolating to a uniform grid and contouring.

      For more information, see the short document on non-uniform grids that NCL can contour, and the following example sections: SEAM (HOMME) grids, Geodesic grids, and Adaptive grids.

    • addfile/addfiles

      File suffixes recognized by these two functions are now case insensitive. For example, ".nc" and ".NC" are both recognized as representing netCDF files.

    • OPeNDAP-enabled NCL

      NCL now has OPeNDAP (formerly known as "DODS") capabilities built into it, but only for systems that OPeNDAP is supported on (Linux, Solaris, AIX). What this means is that you can use functions like addfile and isfilepresent to access netCDF datasets served by an OPenDAP server.

      Here's an example and also a way to test if your version of NCL is OPeNDAP-enabled:

      ; The URL is so long, break it into two pieces.
        url      = ""
        filename = "ncep.reanalysis.dailyavgs/pressure/"
        exists = isfilepresent(url+filename)
        if(.not.exists) then 
          print("OPeNDAP test unsuccessful.")
          print("Either the file doesn't exist, or NCL does not have")
          print("OPeNDAP capabilities on this system")
          f = addfile(url + filename,"r")
      ; "variables" should be equal to 
      ; (/"air","time","lon","lat","level"/)
          variables = getfilevarnames(f)
        end if

    • New special resources for contour lines: gsnContourZeroLineThicknessF, gsnContourLineThicknessesScale, and gsnContourNegLineDashPattern.

      Respectively, these resources allow you to specify the line thickness of the zero contour, specify a scale factor to apply to the current line thicknesses, and specify a dash pattern for negative contours. For some examples, see the contour effects examples.

    • New EOF functions

      The eofunc* suite of three functions (eofunc, eofunc_ts, eofunc_varimax) implements a more efficient method for computing EOFs. The previous suite of EOF functions will be available but should be replaced by the eofunc* functions.

    • get_ncl_version

      Returns the NCL version as a string.

    • gsn_add_text, gsn_text, gsn_text_ndc

      The input X, Y, and text arrays are no longer restricted to be 1-dimensional. If they are multi-dimensional, they must be the same dimensions as each other. Any one of them can be a scalar.

    • Any gsn_csm polar plotting script.

      The font for the longitude labels and gsnRightString, gsnLeftString, and gsnCenterString were all defaulting to "helvetica-bold," which is inconsistent with the rest of the gsn_csm plotting scripts, whose labels default to "helvetica".

      These fonts were changed to be just "helvetica", which means you may notice a difference when generating polar plots with this version of NCL.

      To keep the polar longitude labels and/or three top subtitles set to "helvetica-bold", you need to set:

        res@gsnPolarLabelFont = "helvetica-bold"
        res@gsnStringFont     = "helvetica-bold"

    • New functions: gsn_csm_xy2, gsn_csm_x2y, and gsn_csm_x2y2

      These functions are similar to gsn_csm_xy, only they allow you to have a different axis system on one or both of the top X and bottom right axis.

    • GRIB file work-around for reading GRIB files from the IPCC Data Distribution Center (

      Several unrecognized centers are used for these files. The work-around code is activated when an unrecognized center is encountered.

      User-defined parameter tables are still needed and NCL does not attempt to supply a name for the center.

    • Three new ECMWF GRIB tables added

      132: Extreme forecast index
      162: Usage: ECMWF re-analysis, ERA40
      200: Usage: Differences between first guess and analysis

    • Two additional time variables are provided when GRIB data are read.

      These new variables, which are of type "double", contain the same information as the current initial_time(n) variables which are of type "string". The two new variables are:

      1. initial_time(n)_hours: This has units of "hours since 1800-01-01 00:00".
      2. initial_time(n)_encoded: This has units of "yyyymmddhh.hh_frac".

    • landsea_mask

      Returns a grid that contains a land sea mask given any (e.g. gaussian, fixed offset, curvilinear) latitude and longitude array. The result can then be applied to any array on the same grid using mask.

    • simpeq

      Integrates a sequence of equally spaced points using Simpson's Rule.

    • simpne

      Integrates a sequence of unequally spaced points using Simpson's three-point formula.

    • triple2grid2d

      Places randomly-spaced data onto the nearest locations of a grid with two-dimensional latitude and longitude arrays.

    • v5d_create

      Creates a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • v5d_write

      Writes compressed gridded data to a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • v5d_write_var

      Writes a single gridded variable to a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • v5d_setLowLev

      Sets the lowest vertical offset, per grid level, for each gridded variable in a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • v5d_setUnits

      Sets a name for physical units associated with a variable in a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • v5d_close

      Closes a Vis5D+ formatted file.

    • wmbarbmap

      Uses the wind barb functions from the Wmap package to draw wind barbs over maps.

    • New resources for zonal means plots

      If you are creating a zonal means plots using the gsnZonalMean resource, then you now have access to three new resources:

      If you are wondering what a zonal mean plot is, see example 7 in the list of color examples.
    Important bug fixes

    • asciiread bug

      A bug was fixed in asciiread which caused it to read in lone periods (".") as float values equal to "0". For example, if you had the string "The data file is called file.cdf", it would treat the period in "file.cdf" as the value 0.

    • Coordinate subscripting bug

      If you subscripted an array using coordinate subscripting, and gave it a "finish" subscript and not a "start" subscript, then you may have gotten one extra coordinate value. For example, the simple script below demonstrates this:

        level = (/1.5,2.5,3.5,4.5,5.5/)
        lev   = (/level/)
        lev!0 = "lev"
        lev&lev = level
        lev1 = lev({:3}) 
        lev2 = lev({0:3})
      The two arrays lev1 and lev2 should be identical and equal to (/1.5,2.5/). Before this bug fix, lev1 was incorrectly getting the values (/1.5,2.5,3.5/).

    • Another coordinate subscripting bug

      If you tried to use coordinate subscripting without actually using a subscript value, as in:

          buf2 = buf({lev|:},{lon|:},{lat|30:50})
      it would sometimes cause a core dump.

    • Problems reading netCDF files that had multi-dimensional variables with the same name as a dimension.

      NCL is now tolerant of netCDF files where a multi-dimensional variable has the same name as a dimension (in other words, something that NCL saw as a coordinate variable, and wanted it to be one-dimensional). NCL no longer assumes that a variable with the same name as a dimension is a coordinate variable unless the variable has a single dimension.

    • And still another coordinate subscripting bug

      There was a problem with coordinate array subselection using double coordinate values: the coordinate values were only being compared to float precision.

      This fix allows the following code to execute correctly:

        coord = (/1234.5678901230d,1234.5678901231d,1234.5678901232d,\
                  1234.5678901233d /)
        h   = (/ 4,5,6,7 /)
        h!0 = "coord"
        h&coord = coord
        v1 = 1234.56789012305d
        v2 = 1234.56789012311d
        v  = h({v1:v2})
        v  = h({1234.56789012305d:1234.56789012319d})

    • Any gsn plotting routine that does a frame advance

      When you set the special resource gsnMaximize to True, this maximizes the size of the plot(s) in the current frame. For PostScript or PDF output, the maximization is done by computing something called device coordinates that tells PS/PDF how the output is supposed to appear on the page. Previously, if these device coordinates were not reset or recalculated after the frame was advanced, then subsequent plots may not have been drawn correctly in the frame.

      This bug was fixed by having the device coordinates set back to their original values, but only if the frame is advanced by the plotting routine (that is, if you set gsnFrame to False, then the device coordinates are not set back to their original values).

      You can reset the device coordinates yourself by calling the procedure:

      This procedure should only be called after the frame is advance, and before any drawing has occurred on the new frame.

    • Problems with reading HDF files.

      1. Variable names now have non-alphanumeric characters replaced with an underscore. Multiple underscores are collapsed to a single underscore. This brings the HDF code in line with what has always been documented.

      2. With respect to the above, each variable is now given an attribute called "hdf_name", whose value is the original HDF variable name. This may be a redundant piece of information, but it seems better to always have it so that the user code does not have to check whether it exists.

      3. Certain HDF files have SDS variables with identical names. They are distinguished in the HDF file by belonging to different hierarchically arranged "Vgroups", much like a directory structure in a file system. These are now distinguished by appending a double underscore followed by the Vgroup reference id to the variable name. In addition, a text representation of the Vgroup hierarchy (with '/' used as a separator) is added as an attribute called "hdf_group." The group reference id is stored as an integer attribute called "hdf_group_id." Here's an example fragment of calling "print" on a file variable:

              float Longwave_flux_minimum_value__316 ( day, region )
                 valid_range :  
                 _FillValue :   3.402823e+38
                 long_name :    Daily, Total-sky Averages
                 units :        Watts per square meter
                 hdf_name :     Longwave flux minimum value
                 hdf_group :    Daily Averages/Total-Sky
                 hdf_group_id : 316

      4. Added caching for all HDF attributes, similar to the caching implemented for the NetCDF module. This improves the performance of printing the contents of large HDF files by several orders of magnitude.

    Version 4.2.0.a031

    2 January 2004

    New and updated functionality

    Contour line label density control
    An internal parameter's value was changed to fix the occasional problem of getting no or very few contour line labels on a contour plot. This may cause the default behavior to change for some contour plots, if you are setting the resource cnLineLabelPlacementMode to "Computed" or "Randomized" (i.e. you might see more contour line labels). The "Constant" mode is unaffected by this change.

    You also now have better control over the density of contour line labels using the new resource cnLineLabelDensityF. This resource allows a simple (though inexact) method for controlling the number of line labels on a ContourPlot for both the "Randomized" and "Computed" line label placement modes. It has no effect for the "Constant" mode, which depends on cnLineDashSegLenF to determine the spacing.

    If cnLineLabelDensityF is set to its default value of 0.0, it has no effect, and the line label spacing can be controlled using the cnConpackParams resource as always. If cnLineLabelDensityF is set to 1.0, then the default settings of the appropriate Conpack parameters apply, overriding any that are set by cnConpackParams. As cnLineLabelDensityF is set to values greater than 1.0, the number of labels increases, while setting it to positive values less than 1.0 causes the number of labels to decrease.

    Uses the output of eofcov and eofcov_ts to construct a data array.

    eofcor, eofcov, eofcor_pcmsg, eofcov_pcmsg
    Added an attribute called eof_function to indicate which EOF function was used.

    eofcor_pcmsg, eofcov_pcmsg
    Updated to return pcrit as an attribute.

    Any gsn_csm map script that can draw a Lambert Conformal plot.
    The ability to mask out areas of a Lambert Conformal plot to produce a plot similar to example 5 in the suite of CSM polar examples has been added. For an example, click on the script lambert.ncl and its resource file, or see its output.

    Any gsn_csm plotting script that uses the "long_name" attribute to label an axis.
    In addition to the "long_name" attribute, if any other attributes with the name "standard_name", "description", or "DataFieldName" are present, they will be used in the labeling of gsn_csm plot templates. (If more than one of these attributes are present, then the first one encountered in the above list will be used.) Also, some more acceptable values for the "units" attribute were added, including "UNITS", "UNIT", and "unit".

    Any gsn_csm script that doesn't have latitude or longitude values on the X axis.
    If the coordinate array that represents the X or Y axis has a valid "long_name" type attribute, then the value of this attribute will be used to label the corresponding axis.

    Added two new resources called gsnXYBarChartColors2 and gsnXYBarChartPatterns2. They behave similarly to gsnXYBarChartColors and gsnXYBarChartPatterns, except they assign colors and patterns of individual bars regardless of whether the bar is up or down. For an example, see examples 6 and 7 in the bar application examples.

    This function has been updated to allow double input.

    Updates to GRIB reader
    The GRIB reader in NCL has been updated to add support for NCEP GRIB tables 129, 130 and 131.
    Important bug fixes

    Fixed a bug for the case where an entire input series was missing. This routine will return a missing value if any input series are all missing.

    ezfftf, specx_anal
    Fixed a bug that would cause a core dump on some systems if the input array had an odd number of elements.

    GRIB reader bug fix
    The GRIB reader was not recognizing all bits set in the lat/lon increment octets of the GDS as meaning "undefined", and thus Dj and Di were being calculated incorrectly. In this situation, Dj and Di were fixed to be calculated from the number of lats/lons and the endpoints.

    Fixed a serious bug that would cause incorrect output if your input array was non-square.

    Fixed a bug that would cause this routine to core dump if invoked multiple times with the same specification string.

    Data was being printed in column x row format instead of row x column format as advertised.

    Version 4.2.0.a030

    1 July 2003

    This version was released shortly after the previous version to fix some bugs that were found in the dashline and stippling code. Also, some people were running into problems with cyclic data. If you have problems with this version, please send email to Mary Haley.

    Version 4.2.0.a029

    1 July 2003

    New documentation

    NCL mini reference manual
    There's a new mini NCL reference manual that you can print out, courtesy of Dennis Shea and Sylvia Murphy of the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at NCAR. It contains information on language syntax, file I/O, attributes and coordinate variables, data processing, and how to access external codes. It's available in PDF format from the manuals page.

    New and updated functionality

    New way to create a double precision variable
    You can now specify doubles on the fly without having to use the new function. The format is similar to Fortran, in which you use a 'D' or 'd' specification. The following are equivalent, and produce a NCL variable of type "double":

        d = 1d
        d = 1D
        d = 1D0
        d = 1d+0
        d = 1d-0

    Calculates cross-covariance between two variables.

    Calculates 1D filter weights based on the gaussian (normal) distribution.

    This function has been updated to allow numeric input.

    Returns a list of dimension sizes of the given file variable.

    Returns an array of integer dimension sizes for file variables. This function already existed as "filevardimsizes", but to stay consistent with the naming convention of other file retrieval functions (they all start with the word "get"), we decided to give it a new name. The old name will still work forever for backwards compatibility.

    Any gsn_csm plotting script that recognizes the gsn*String resources.
    The font height of the three subtitles at the top can now be set individually using the resources gsnLeftStringFontHeightF, gsnCenterStringFontHeightF, and gsnRightStringFontHeightF. You can also set all three font heights with the single resource gsnStringFontHeightF. The subtitle font heights can also still be set with txFontHeightF, but setting this resource may affect your lat/lon label sizes in a polar plot.

    Any gsn_csm polar plotting script.
    The font and font height of the latitude/longitude labels on a polar stereographic plot can now be controlled via the resources gsnPolarLabelFont and gsnPolarLabelFontHeightF.

    Checks for the existence of a file.

    Checks if a named dimension in the file is defined as an unlimited dimension.

    Adds new dash patterns to the existing table of dash patterns. For an example click on the script dashlines.ncl, or see its output.

    Adds new markers to the existing table of markers. For an example, click on the script markers.ncl, or see its output.

    Stipple dot size control
    You can now control the size of stipple dots (pattern 17 in the fill pattern table) using the new resources cnFillDotSizeF, gsFillDotSizeF, lbFillDotSizeF, and mpFillDotSizeF.

    For an example, click on the script stipple.ncl, or see its output (frame 1, frame 2, and frame 3).

    ut_calendar, ut_inv_calendar
    Converts from time values with specific units to UTC-referenced dates, and vice versa. These fuctions use routines in the Udunits library to do the conversions.
    Important bug fixes

    Fix for cases where you have constant X or Y data in an XY plot.
    Previously, if you had an XY plot in which the data was constant in X or Y, you would get a warning message:
       warning:TransInitialize: Zero Y coordinate span: defaulting:[errno=1104]
    and the axis representing the constant data would default to a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 1. This has been fixed so that the minimum and maximum are calculated based on the value of the constant data.

    Changes to GRIB reader
    The GRIB reader in NCL has been updated using the currently documented values at:
    with the exception that model index 84 was changed from "MESO ETA Model (currently 12 km)" to simply "MESO ETA Model", because we believe the same index has been used historically for a number of different model resolutions. Model indexes 83 and 85 are changed from "No longer used" to what they were previously: "ETA Model - 80 km version" and "ETA Model - 30 km version", on the assumption that any GRIB file with these model indexes would be an old one.

    line thickness in PostScript files
    With the addition of the PDF driver, the line thickness for the various output devices (NCGM, X11 window, PS, and PDF) were adjusted to try to get them all to look the same. This resulted in line thicknesses for PS files being noticeably thicker, so they were reduced back to what they looked like before version 4.2.0.a028.

    With the addition of the NhlNewMarker routine, the current existing markers in NCL have been adjusted to be more centered with respect to its position coordinates. These differences will probably not be noticeable for standard marker programs. However, if you are significantly increasing the size of your markers, you may notice a slight shift in the X and/or Y direction.

    Version 4.2.0.a028

    31 March 2003

    Changes and new capabilities in GRIB reader
    Some major additions have been added to NCL's GRIB file reader to make it much more robust and to fix some bugs.

    For more information, please see the "supported data formats information" section in the NCL Reference Manual.

    The ability to load GRIB parameters from a file has been added. This can be done by setting the environment variable NCL_GRIB_PTABLE_PATH to a file or directory path. Parameter tables read from a file have precedence over built-in tables that would otherwise apply to the same dataset. An interface for adjusting this precedence at run-time is on the enhancement request list.

    Many new built-in parameter tables were added, including all tables supported by wgrib, three FSL tables, and a Navy Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center table.

    Support was added for thinned "quasi-regular" grids.

    The way NCL names certain GRIB variables has been changed. This may result in variable names that are incompatible with previous names. In particular, variables involving average, accumulation, and difference over specific periods of time. For example, the variable PRATE_GDS4_SFC_ave will now be PRATE_GDS4_SFC_ave6h. This was required because some GRIB files have averages for several differing periods on the same file.

    A problem was fixed for parameters less than 128 in ECMWF files.

    Sending output to a PDF file

    A PDF driver was added to NCL, allowing you to direct your graphical output directly to PDF. To use this driver with the GSN* suite of scripts, simply change the first argument of your call to gsn_open_wks to "pdf". A file with the name "file.pdf" will be created, where file is the second argument to gsn_open_wks.

    Otherwise, you can create a PDFWorkstation much like you do a PSWorkstation.

    You can now write true scalars to an HDF or netCDF file

    Previously, if you wrote an NCL scalar to an HDF or netCDF file and then did a dump on the file, you would see that the scalar was written out as a 1D array of length one, rather than as a true scalar. For example:
        netcdf test {
                ncl_scalar = 1 ;
                int c(ncl_scalar) ;
         c = 5 ;
    Now, you can write scalars to an HDF or netCDF file using one of two methods:
    1. Use the filevardef procedure:
          f = addfile("","c")
          c    = 5
          f->c = c
    2. Create a scalar variable in NCL, assign it the dimension name "ncl_scalar", and then assign this variable to the file:
          f    = addfile("","c")
          c    = 5
          c!0  = "ncl_scalar"
          f->c = c
      Using one of the above methods results in a file as follows:
          netcdf test {
                  int c ;
           c = 5 ;
    3. Use a more efficient method to avoid the double copying of attributes to a file:
          c    = 5.123
          c@long_name = "sample constant"
          c@units     = "m"
          f = addfile("","c")
          filevardef(f,"c", typeof(c), "ncl_scalar")
          filevarattdef(f,"c", c)
          f->c = (/ c /)                    ; Use '(/' and '/)' to avoid
                                            ; copying of attributes.
      Using the above method results in a file as follows:
          netcdf test {
                  float c ;
                          c:units = "m" ;
                          c:long_name = "sample constant" ;
    You are no longer allowed to define the dimension "ncl_scalar" using filedimdef. If you do, a warning level message is returned:
        FileAddDim:"ncl_scalar" is a reserved file dimension name in NCL;
        it cannot be defined by the user
    Note that there is no restriction on using the name "ncl_scalar" as a dimension name for ordinary variables: only for defining it as a file dimension.

    Performance enhancement for array variable initialization and assignment

    Whenever the new function is invoked, it fills the variable with missing values. This method has been improved to double the number of initializations taking place for each iteration.

    Where possible, contiguous data are now copied used single invocations of memcpy, thus speeding up the intialization of various kinds of array assignments, including:

    • unsubscripted assignment where the types differ
    • unsubscripted = subscripted: t = u(1,:,:)
    • subscripted = unsubscripted: t(1,:,:) = u
    • subscripted = subscripted: t(1,:,:) = u(0,0:9,:)
    • subscripted = scalar: t(1,:,:) = 10.0
    The optimization is only possible when certain conditions are met:

    • the stride is positive
    • the dimension is not reversed
    • the dimension is not reordered
    • the dimension does not employ vector subsetting
    New and updated functions

    dspnt2s, dspnt2d, dspnt3s, dspnt3d.
    These routines were updated to allow multiple dimensions.

    Evaluates the incomplete gamma function; often used to determine probabilities

    Returns the types of the named variables in a given file.

    Any gsn_csm script that recognizes the gsnAddCyclic resource.
    The gsn_csm plotting scripts have been updated such that if 2D latitude/longitude coordinate variables are present (that is, the data has the special "lat2d" and "lon2d" attributes set to 2D arrays), then gsnAddCyclic will default to False.

    This means that any NCL scripts that are setting the lat2d/lon2d attributes and expecting the cyclic point to be added, you will need to add a line setting gsnAddCyclic to True:

      res@gsnAddCyclic = True

    gsn_csm_vector_map_ce and gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_ce
    These two plotting functions were modified so that if both a labelbar and a vector reference annotation are drawn, and you move the reference annotation up, then the labelbar will not get moved up into the tickmarks. If you were previously getting around this problem by setting the pmLabelBarOrthogonalPosF resource to readjust the position of the labelbar, then you may want to consider removing the setting of this resource altogether.

    Updated to add a new resource called gsnPanelFigureStringsFontHeightF. Use this resource to control the font height of the panel figure strings that you specify with the gsnPanelFigureStrings resource.

    Checks whether one or more of a variable's dimensions are named.

    This function, which allocates space for a specified data type, has been improved by speeding up the initialization that takes place when you invoke it. In some of our timing tests on large allocations of data, we saw speed-ups of 2.5 times and greater.

    Places randomly-spaced data onto the nearest locations of a grid with two-dimensional latitude and longitude arrays.

    A term that accounts for the convergence of the meridions has been added to this routine. The effects should be small except possibly near the poles.

    Calculates the area average of a quantity using 2D weights.

    Calculates the area sum of a quantity using 2D weights.

    Calculates the area root-mean-square-difference between two variables using 2D weights.

    Prints nicely-formatted 2D arrays.

    Important bug fixes

    This procedure was fixed so that it doesn't core dump if you try to write characters to a file. This bug is related to the typeof bug mentioned next.

    This function now correctly returns the string "character" when you call it with a variable that is of type character. It was previously just returning "char". Make sure you fix any scripts that are calling this function and checking for "char".

    Version 4.2.0.a027

    30 December 2002

    New and updated functions, and bug fixes

    memory bug fix
    A couple of memory bugs were fixed in NCL. One bug caused some large NCL scripts to core dump or to say a variable wasn't defined when it very clearly was. This bug was particularly noticeable if you had lots of do loops, or were creating lots of variables in your main program. The second bug occurred when NCL scripts erroneously referenced undefined variable attributes, and then tried to delete them.

    filling high-resolution maps (bug fix)
    A bug was fixed in which if you drew a low resolution map and filled the continents, and then drew a high resolution map and filled the continents, you would get some blocky holes in the filled areas.

    Streamline bug
    A streamline bug that was similar to the vector bug mentioned below was fixed. This bug caused coordinate arrays to be ignored when streamline plots were being overlaid on a map plot, and thus the streamlines were not appearing in the right location.

    Vector bug
    Fixed a vector bug that caused the reference length for normal line and fill vectors to not be calculated properly if the reference magnitude resource (vcRefMagnitudeF) was set, and the reference length resource had its default value of 0.0, thus indicating that NCL should determine the reference length itself.

    Counts the number of True values of the n-1 rightmost dimension for all dimensions 0...n-2

    gsn_add_text, gsn_text, gsn_text_ndc
    These routines have been updated to allow arrays of text strings to be drawn. To see some examples, go to the application text examples.

    gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map, gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_ce, and gsn_csm_vector_scalar_map_polar
    These routines have been updated to use the scalar field's long_name and units attributes to label the top left and right of the plot, rather than the U/V field attributes.

    New functionality has been added to gsn_histogram to allow you to specify ranges and discrete values together in one histogram. New histogram resources have been added to allow you to bin values that are outside the given range of class values (gsnHistogramMinMaxBinsOn), to make the histograms horizontal (gsnHistogramHorizontal), and to control how missing values are handled (gsnHistogramComputePercentagesNoMissing).

    For an example, click on the script histogram.ncl, or see its output (frame 1, frame 2, frame 3, frame 4, and frame 5).

    Rounds a float or double variable to the nearest whole number.

    Computes singular value decomposition (SVD) of a general rectangular matrix. Returned are the singular values and the left and right singular vectors.

    Version 4.2.0.a026

    24 September 2002

    A vector bug was discovered in version 4.2.0.a025 that's serious enough to warrant releasing a bug fix right away (hence this version). This bug caused coordinate arrays to be ignored when vector plots were being overlaid on a map plot, and thus the vectors were not appearing in the right location.

    Version 4.2.0.a025

    16 September 2002

    New capabilities in NCL

    New capabilities with spherical 2D grids and
    discrete rasterization capability
    NCL can now handle 2D spherical grids; that is, grids that are represented by 2D coordinate arrays. This new capability can be used with both contour and vector plots. For an example, click on the script pop.ncl, or see its output (frame 1, frame 2, frame 3, frame 4, frame 5).

    The above example also showcases the new discrete rasterization capability. If the lat/lon coordinate arrays have one more element along both dimensions than the data array, then in raster mode, this will cause the raster fill to treat the coordinate arrays as cell boundaries.

    You can see some more examples in the pop applications page.

    ictrans and med bugs
    A bug was fixed in both ictrans and med that caused metafiles to not be appended properly on LINUX systems. The problem would surface when you tried to write multiple frames from one metafile to another metafile.

    Running NCL scripts
    You can now run an NCL script without using the "<" character:
    ncl xy.ncl
    ncl < xy.ncl

    New and updated functions

    bar chart capability
    You can now use multiple colors to fill the bars in a bar chart. See example 7 in the bar applications page.

    ftcurv, ftcurvd, ftcurvi, ftcurvp, ftcurvpi, ftcurvps, ftcurvs, ftsurf
    Updated to allow the input to be of type numeric (instead of just float), and to allow xi to be multi-dimensional.

    ftkurv, ftkurvd, ftkurvp, ftkurvpd
    Updated to allow the input to be of type numeric (instead of just float), and the output to be float or double.

    Returns a list of dimension names of the given variable.

    Takes a list of named colors, and draws them in a grid with the color name and corresponding RGB triplet listed. For an example, click on the script gsn_draw_named_colors.ncl, or see its output.

    Reverses the current color map keeping the foreground and background colors the same. You must have this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function. For an example, click on the script gsn_reverse_colormap.ncl, or see its original color map and then the reversed color map.

    If you enter non-equally spaced values for the gsnHistogramClassIntervals or gsnHistogramBinIntervals resource, then gsn_histogram will now make them equally spaced on the axis.

    See example 5 in the histogram application pages.

    linint1, linint2, linint2_points
    Updated to allow input arrays to be multi-dimensional.

    nggetp, ngsetp
    Sets and retrieves parameters for the nglogo, ngezlogo routines.

    Version 4.2.0.a024

    13 May 2002

    New and updated functions

    cdfbin_p, cdfbin_s, cdfbin_xn, cdfbin_pr
    Calculates various parameters of the binomial distribution.

    cdfchi_p, cdfchi_x
    Calculates various parameters of the chi-square distribution.

    cdfgam_p, cdfgam_x
    Calculates various parameters of the gamma distribution.

    cdfnor_p, cdfnor_x
    Calculates various parameters of the normal distribution.

    Estimates and removes the least squares quadratic trend at all grid points.

    Updated so that you can now set the gsnMaximize resource to maximize the size of the attached plots.

    MacOSX version of NCL available.
    You can download the MacOSX NCL binaries by going to the download section and following instructions.

    Draws the NCAR logo in the lower right corner of the workstation. For an example, click on the script nglogo.ncl, or see its NCGM or PostScript output.

    Draws various NCAR and UCAR logos. For an example, click on the script nglogo.ncl, or see its NCGM or PostScript output.

    Interpolates a vertical column from sigma coordinates to hybrid coordinates.

    Version 4.2.0.a023

    14 February 2002

    labelbars and legends bug
    Fixed a change in the way labelbars and legends were drawn that would cause some of the labels to disappear.

    Automatic generation of map tickmarks (lat/lon labels)
    You can have lat/lon labels automatically generated for several map projections. This feature has not been incorporated into the gsn_csm functions yet.

    To generate map tickmarks automatically (if you are not using gsn_csm functions), set the pmTickMarkDisplayMode resource to "Always" when you are setting the map resources.

    For an example, click on the script maptm.ncl, or see its output.

    Access to RANGS/GSHHS high-resolution map database
    You can access the multi-resolution coastline database RANGS (Regionally Accessible Nested Global Shorelines), developed by Rainer Feistel from Wessel and Smith's GSHHS (Global Self-consistent Hierarchical High-resolution Shoreline) database.

    For information on how to download and install the RANGS/GSHHS, please click here.

    Once you have the database installed, you can see an example by clicking on the script coast_2.ncl, or viewing its output.

    New and updated functions

    Calculates the dew point temperature given temperature and relative humidity.

    Starting with a base plot, this function attaches a series of plots to the right Y axis (or bottom X axis) of the previous plot. You must have at least this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl to have access to this function. For an example, see the script gsn_attach_plots.ncl and its output.

    This function is similar to gsn_csm_xy, except that only the Y values are passed in, and the X values will be index values going from 0 to npts-1, where npts is the number of points in the Y curve(s). You must load gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl to have access to this function.

    This function draws a legend anywhere in the viewport. You must load gsn_code.ncl to have access to this function.

    This function is similar to gsn_xy, except that only the Y values are passed in, and the X values will be index values going from 0 to npts-1, where npts is the number of points in the Y curve(s). You must load gsn_code.ncl to have access to this function. For an example, see the script gsn_y.ncl and its output.

    Takes a list of indices returned by ind and resolves them to their multi-dimensional representation.

    Calculates the pressure of the lifting condensation level.

    Calculates the mixing ratio or specific humidity given pressure, temperature and relative humidity.

    Interpolates from a grid produced by the Regional Climate Model (where grid points are represented by 2D lat/lon arrays), to user-specified locations.

    This procedure uses the low-level WMSTNM routine from the Wmap package to plot station model data.

    dv2uvF, dv2uvG uv2sfvpF, uv2sfvpG uv2vrdvF, uv2vrdvG vr2uvF, vr2uvG, vrdv2uvF, vrdv2uvG
    These are functional versions of the existing procedures: dv2uvf, dv2uvg, uv2sfvpf, uv2sfvpg, uv2vrdvf, uv2vrdvg, vr2uvf, vr2uvg, vrdv2uvf, vrdv2uvg

    Version 4.2.0.a022

    28 November 2001

    pres_hybrid_ccm, dpres_hybrid_ccm
    Fixed a bug that caused these functions not to work if ps was more than 2 dimensions.

    Updated to allow a multi-dimensional array to conform to the shape of another multi-dimensional array

    Curly vectors
    A resource was updated to allow the specification of curly vectors. This functionality has actually been in NCL since version 4.2.0.a019, but I forgot to mention it then. For more information, see the vcGlyphStyle resource or see example 2 in the vector application pages.

    ezfftb, ezfftf
    Updated to check for missing values.

    Updated to allow nsigma to be numeric.

    linint1 Updated to allow the input or output X coordinates to be increasing OR decreasing.

    Updated to allow the input or output X/Y coordinates to be increasing OR decreasing.

    Generates random values of chi-square variable.

    Generates random deviates from a gamma distribution.

    Generates random deviates from a normal distribution.

    Sets the seed for the family of random functions.

    Generates uniform random values between two given low and high values.

    Interpolates from a grid produced by the Regional Climate Model, where grid points are represented by 2D lat/lon arrays, to a regular grid.

    Interpolates from a regular grid to a grid produced by the Regional Climate Model, where grid points are represented by 2D lat/lon arrays.

    Version 4.2.0.a021

    24 September 2001

    g2gshv, f2gshv, g2fshv, f2fshv
    An error in the spherical harmonic based functions for regridding vector quantities was fixed: the spherical harmonic coefficients after vector analysis (optionally, truncation) were inadvertently synthesized in scalar mode rather than vector mode.

    csa1, csa1d [csa1x, csa1xd]
    Calculates an approximating cubic spline for 1D input data [and weights the input data if desired]. These are the generic and double precision versions of csa1s [csa1xs].

    csa2, csa2d [csa2x, csa2xd]
    Calculates an approximating cubic spline for 2D input data [and weights the input data if desired]. These are the generic and double precision versions of csa2s [csa2xs].

    csa2l, csa2ld [csa2lx, csa2lxd]
    Calculates an approximating cubic spline for 2D input data at a list of specified coordinates [and weights the input data if desired]. These are the generic and double precision versions of csa2ls [csa2lxs].

    csa3, csa3d [csa3x, csa3xd]
    Calculates an approximating cubic spline for 3D input data [and weights the input data if desired]. These are the generic and double precision versions of csa3s [csa3xs].

    csa3l, csa3ld [csa3lx, csa3lxd]
    Calculates an approximating cubic spline for 3D input data at a list of specified coordinates [and weights the input data if desired]. These are the generic and double precision versions of csa3ls [csa3lxs].

    dspnt2, dspnt3
    Interpolates 2D/3D data at specified points. These are the generic versions of dspnt2s, dspnt2d, dspnt3s, dspnt3d.

    Calculates weights which are used to perform tapering (filtering) on the spherical harmonic coefficients.

    exp_tapersh, exp_tapershC
    Performs tapering (filtering) on the spherical harmonic coefficients.

    Draws a pressure/height plot with streamlines and contours. You must have at least this version of NCL and load both gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Draws a pressure/height plot with vectors and contours. You must have at least this version of NCL and load both gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Interpolates at a list of given points. This routine is the generic version of nnpnts, nnpntd.

    Calculates all natural neighbor relationships in an input data array. This is the generic version of nnpntinits, nnpntinitd.

    nnpnts, nnpntd
    Updated to allow an array of any length.

    Updated to add an attribute called coher_probability.

    Version 4.2.0.a020

    24 July 2001

    Computes the root-mean-square-difference of the n-1 rightmost dimension for all dimensions 0...n-2

    Updated to allow xbar to be a scalar

    get_sphere_radius, set_sphere_radius
    Retrieves or sets the radius of a sphere (to be used in conjunction with the spherical harmonic routines).

    Added three new resource called gsnXYBarChart, gsnXYBarChartBarWidth, and gsnXYBarChartOutlineOnly. If you set gsnXYBarChart to True and gsnYRefLine to a reference value, then you will get a bar going up or down for each Y value (depending on whether it is greater or less than the reference value), instead of a smooth Y curve. The default width of each bar is the smallest distance between consecutive X values. You can change the width with the gsnXYBarChartBarWidth resource. If you set gsnXYBarChartOutlineOnly to True, then you will only get the outline of the bars.

    Click on bar.ncl to see a script example, and bar1.gif/bar2.gif to see example graphics.

    These special attributes were updated to allow you to reverse the order of the color indices spanned. Click on spread_colors_rev.ncl to see a script example, and spread_colors_rev.gif to see an example graphic.

    Added a long-lost TickMark example (it uses object-oriented code).

    polar stereographic plots bug
    Fixed an elusive bug in the drawing of polar stereographic plots that would sometimes cause the error messages:
      fatal:ContourPlotDraw: ARSCAM/ARPRAM - ALGORITHM FAILURE
      fatal:ContourPlotDraw: draw error
      fatal:ContourPlotDraw: draw error
      fatal:PlotManagerDraw: error in plot draw
      fatal:_NhlPlotManagerDraw: Draw error
    to appear, and the plot wouldn't get drawn.

    Fixed a problem that only occurred when the file being read was an exact multiple of the blocksize.

    specx_anal, specxy_anal
    Fixed a bug in the way the attributes frq, spcx, spcy, coher, quspc, cospc, and phase are returned from these functions.

    NCL arrays
    Fixed a bug that would limit the number of elements that could be used in a single dimension of an array. The cut-off was around 2^23 elements.

    Version 4.2.0.a019

    12 June 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Updated to allow r to be multi-dimensional

    Converts a 2D grid with 1D coordinate variables to a 3D array where each grid value is associated with its coordinates

    Updated so that if the X or Y data has units of "degrees_east" or "degrees_north", then the corresponding axis will be labeled with "nice" latitude and/or longitude labels.

    Computes the wavelet transform of a time series, and significance levels.

    Labelbar display
    A bug was fixed that caused the labelbar to sometimes not display the correct levels if "cnLevels" was set explicitly.

    Version 4.2.0.a018

    14 May 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Updated so input pressure arrays can be 1D or multi-dimensional

    Computes the inverse of a general matrix using the LU factorization

    Creates coastal outlines from model orography data for use in paleogeographic plots

    Calculates the pressure at specified sigma levels

    Computes the solution to a real system of linear equations

    Applies split-cosine-bell tapering to one or more series

    Version 4.2.0.a017

    2 April 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Draws a histogram plot. You must load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Computes a zonal mean meridional stream function using a modified definition of the CCM Processor zonal mean meridional stream function.

    Version 4.2.0.a016

    16 March 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    dsgrid2, dsgrid3
    Interpolates 2D/3D random data to a rectangular grid using simple inverse distance weighted interpolation. These are generic versions of dsgrid2s/dsgrid2d/dsgrid3s/dsgrid3d.

    Calculates 1D filter weights

    A bug was fixed that only occurred when either series had one or more missing values *and* lagged cross-correlations were calculated. The error is believed to have been introduced in April 2000.


    1. if no missing values were present (eg: model output) then all cross-correlations are correct.
    2. cross-correlations between series at lag zero are correct even if missing values were present. (ie, the straight cross-correlation coefficient is correct.)
    3. the results are incorrect when missing values are present, and cross-correlations at lags greater than zero were computed.

    Draws the current color map (useful for debugging purposes). You must have this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Merges two color maps into one color map. You must have at least this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Updated so that the input pressure levels can be in either decreasing or increasing order

    Interpolates 2D random data to a rectangular grid using natural neighbor interpolation. This is a generic version of natgrids/natgridd.

    nngetwts, nngetwtsd
    Retrieves natural neighbors and weights for the function values at those neighbors

    Version 4.2.0.a015

    14 February 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Expands a 1D array so that it conforms to the shape of another variable

    dim_min, dim_max
    A bug was fixed that caused these functions to fail if the input didn't contain a missing value attribute (_FillValue).

    dv2uvf, dv2uvg, gradsf, gradsg, igradsf, igradsg, igradsF, igradsG, ilapsf, ilapsg, ilapsF, ilapsG, ilapvf, ilapvg, lapsf, lapsg, lapvf, lapvg, lderuvf, lderuvg, uv2dvf, uv2dvg, uv2dvF, uv2dvG, uv2sfvpf, uv2sfvpg, uv2vrdvf, uv2vrdvf, uv2vrf, uv2vrg, uv2vrF, uv2vrG, vr2uvf, vr2uvg, vrdv2uvf, vrdv2uvg
    Updated so that each 2D lat/lon array that comes in is individually checked for missing values. If missing values are found, then interpolation is skipped only for that lat/lon subsection.

    Draws streamlines and contours over a cylindrical equidistant map projection. You must have at least this version of NCL and load both gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Draws streamlines and contours over a polar stereographic map projection. You must have at least this version of NCL and load both gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Draws streamlines over a polar stereographic map projection. You must have at least this version of NCL and load both gsn_code.ncl and gsn_csm.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Updated so that the phis array can be 2D or 3D

    New colormaps
    Two more pre-defined color maps were added in this version, rainbow+gray and rainbow+white+gray. Click on the color table gallery to see a table of all the available color maps.

    Version 4.2.0.a014

    2 January 2001

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Unpacks bit chunks from the rightmost dimension of the input array

    Computes gaussian latitudes and weights using Gauss-Lobatto quadrature

    Computes Gauss-Lobatto weights given a 1D array of Gauss-Lobatto latitudes

    Unpacks one-bit chunks from the input array

    Computes the latitudes and weights used by the Lin-Rood Model

    Computes the weights used by the Lin-Rood Model

    Ngmath routines
    Updated many of the Ngmath interpolation routines to accept multi-dimensional input (csa1s, csa1xs, csa2ls, csa2lxs, csa2s, csa2xs, csa3ls, csa3lxs, csa3s, csa3xs, dsgrid2s, dsgrid2d, dsgrid3s, dsgrid3d, ftcurv, ftcurvd, ftcurvi, ftcurvp, ftcurvpi, ftcurvps, ftcurvs, natgrids, natgridd)

    Computes column precipitable water

    The input pressure levels may now be a multi-dimensional array

    Version 4.2.0.a013

    8 November 2000

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Updated to have a default list type of "cat" rather than "join"

    Performs a first order remap from one grid to another using weights, source addresses and destination addresses from the Spherical Coordinate Remapping and Interpolation Package

    Version 4.2.0.a012

    30 October 2000

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    References multiple data files in supported formats (".nc",".hdf", ".grb",".ccm") and provides the user with the ability to access data spanning multiple files

    Returns one or more permutation vector(s) generated by sorting the n-1 (rightmost) dimension

    Performs fourier analysis on one or more periodic series and returns the amplitude, phase and percent variance explained for each harmonic

    These functions were updated to allow missing values. For gsn_add_polygon and gsn_add_polymarker, missing values are first removed, and then the resulting markers/polygon are/is drawn. For gsn_add_polyline, only the non-missing parts of the line are drawn.

    Attaches text to a given plot. Using this function allows you to panel text strings (as you weren't able to do with gsn_text). For a simple example, see the script gsn_add_text.ncl and its output.

    Updated to add a new resource called gsnPanelRowSpec, whose default is False. If you set this resource to True, then instead of specifying the number of rows x columns you want for your paneled plots, you specify the number of plots per row. For an example, see example 11 in the panel plots applications pages.

    Specifies the manner in which a variable of type "list" is to be used (use in conjunction with addfiles)

    Specifies the manner in which a variable of type "list" is to be used (use in conjunction with addfiles)

    Calculates "nice" values for endpoints and spacing to be used for creating a series of equally-spaced levels through the data domain

    Converts an array of integers into an array of formatted strings

    Computes divergence for a latitude-longitude grid using centered finite differences (missing values allowed)

    Computes relative vorticity for a latitude-longitude grid using centered finite differences (missing values allowed)

    Version 4.2.0.a011

    28 August 2000

    Email list

    We created an email list called "ncl-talk" for NCL users to exchange ideas and information. To learn more about this email list, see the archived messages, or to subscribe, go to email lists.

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    If a variable from a CCM file that was read in with addfile doesn't have a "long_name" attribute associated with it, then "long_name" will be set to the name of the variable.

    Calculates the atmosphere's relative angular momentum

    Evaluates the incomplete beta function; often used to determine probabilities

    Evaluates the inverse chi-squared distribution function

    Calculates the pressure differences at the given hybrid levels

    Estimates the "equivalent sample size" of a series of observations which may have significant positive autocorrelation

    Applies F-test for variances and returns an estimate of the statistical significance

    Calculates the pressure [Pa] at the given hybrid levels

    Determines the statistical significance of a linear correlation coefficient

    Student's t-test for difference between means; returns an estimate of the statistical significance and, optionally, the t-values.

    Calculates a weighted area average root-mean-square difference (rmse) between two variables

    Calculates the volume average of a quantity from the CCM using weights

    Calculates a weighted volume average root-mean-square difference (rmse) between two variables

    Climate divisions were added to the map database. To see an NCL example that draws all of the climate divisions in the United States, see the script climate.ncl and its output (frame 1 and frame 2).

    Version 4.2.0.a010

    31 July 2000

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Performs a centered finite difference operation

    Calculates the first four moments (average, variance, skewness, and kurtosis) for dimension n-1 at all other indexes

    Calculates the great circle distance between two points on the surface of the globe. It also returns a user specified number of lat/lon coordinate pairs along the great circle path

    Attaches a polygon to a given plot. Using this function allows you to panel polygons (as you weren't able to do with gsn_polygon). You must have at least this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Attaches a polyline to a given plot. Using this function allows you to panel polylines (as you weren't able to do with gsn_polyline). You must have at least this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Attaches polymarkers to a given plot. Using this function allows you to panel polymarkers (as you weren't able to do with gsn_polymarker). You must have at least this version of NCL and load gsn_code.ncl in order to have access to this function.

    Interpolates from a grid to arbitrarily specified coordinate pairs using bilinear interpolation

    Calculates vertical interpolation (optionally, extrapolation) from hybrid coordinates to pressure levels (interpolation of temperature and geopotential below ground)

    Version 4.2.0.a009

    12 June 2000

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Removes the least squares linear trend and estimates of the linear trend at all grid points (missing data allowed)

    Removes the least squares linear trend and estimates of the linear trend at all grid points (missing data not allowed) (updated to return attribute y_intercept)

    Calculates empirical orthogonal functions via the correlation matrix
    (user can specify percent of non-missing data required)

    Calculates empirical orthogonal functions via the covariance matrix (user can specify percent of non-missing data required)

    Calculates cross-correlation between two variables

    ezfftf, ezfftb
    Calculates Fourier coefficients of a real periodic sequence (Fourier analysis) and vice versa (updated to allow multiple leftmost dimensions)

    Interpolates from one series to another using piecewise linear interpolation

    Interpolates from one grid to another using bilinear interpolation

    Calculates relative local maxima of a 2D array

    Calculates relative local minima of a 2D array

    Updated to allow the type argument to be a string; for example, that which is returned by the typeof function:
        xnew = new( dimsizes(x), typeof(x) )

    Calculates the linear regression coefficient between two series
    (exact same routine as "regcoef", only you don't need to allocate
    space for output variables)

    Vector harmonic analyses (fixed grid)

    Vector harmonic analyses (Gaussian grid)

    Vector spherical harmonic syntheses (fixed grid)

    Vector spherical harmonic syntheses (Gaussian grid)

    Calculates the area average of a quantity using weights

    Calculates the volume average of a quantity using weights

    Draws weather fronts (example)

    Version 4.2.0.a008

    18 January 2000

    Finds median for dimension n-1 at all other indexes

    Removes the mean of the n-1 dimension

    Removes the median of the n-1 dimension

    Removes the mean and standardizes all elements of the n-1 dimension

    Rotates the component loadings using Kaiser row normalization and using the varimax criterion

    Returns the Julian day, given the year, month, day, and hour

    Version 4.2.0.a007

    6 December 1999

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Calculates an interpolatory surface passing through a rectangular grid of function values, (updated to allow input of greater than 2 dimensions)

    rhomb_trunC, rhomb_trunc
    Function/procedure for performing rhomboidal truncation on spherical harmonic coefficients

    Function for performing nine point local smoothing on a 2D grid

    tri_trunC, tri_trunc
    Function/procedure for performing triangular truncation on spherical harmonic coefficients

    Version 4.2.0.a006

    2 November 1999

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Returns the day of week, given the year, month, and day of month (Gregorian calendar)

    Returns the Julian day, given the year, month, day, and hour

    Returns the Gregorian date, given the Julian day

    Linearly interpolates to fill in missing values

    Spherical harmonic analyses of a scalar (fixed grid) (procedural version already available)

    Spherical harmonic analyses of a scalar (gaussian grid) (procedural version already available)

    Spherical harmonic syntheses of a scalar (fixed grid) (procedural version already available)

    Spherical harmonic syntheses of a scalar (gaussian grid) (procedural version already available)

    Version 4.2.0.a005

    29 September 1999

    Functions/procedures added or updated

    Find nearest points to a given point in 3-space (part of the Shgrid package)

    shgetp, shsetp
    Gets/sets values for integer control parameters (part of the Shgrid package)

    Interpolate 3D random data (part of the Shgrid package)

    GRIB reader update
    The following attributes were added to GRIB file variables:

    • parameter_number - the GRIB PDS parameter indicator
    • grid_number - the GRIB PDS grid indicator
    • level_indicator - the GRIB PDS level indicator

    More predefined color maps were added in version 4.2.0.a005. To get a list of all the available predefined color maps in ncl, type:
    from the NCL command line. See the color table gallery for a table of the available color maps.

    To load anyone of these color maps, you can use any one of the following code snippets. The color map "rainbow" is being used in these examples:

    Using GSUN calls:

      wks = gsn_open_wks("x11","test")
      type = "x11"
      type@wkColorMap = "rainbow"
      wks = gsn_open_wks(type,"test")
    Using straight NCL code:

      wks = create "workstation" xWorkstationClass
        "wkColorMap" : "rainbow"
      end create