A method of reading Unidata's NetCDF format is required to read the files in this database. We have taken a multi-platform, open-source approach to the storage and access of the files, to make it accessible from PC, MAC and UNIX operating systems. A recent computer with more than 1 GigaByte of memory is desirable for the larger files.
The simplest way to view the attributes and variables of a data file is to employ a web browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox) using OPenDAP to display the URL of a file entered. Similarly, double clicking the name of the file displayed in the listing obtained after clicking the "data access via OPeNDAP" link below the map on each experiment page opens an OPeNDAP viewer.
The freely distributed Java program developed at PMEL called ncBrowse provides the capability to view the data attributes and variables, and to generate plots of the data stored in EPIC netCDF files. NcBrowse is useful for examining data, once files of interest have been selected and downloaded, perhaps having used the OPeNDAP viewer to choose the pertinent ones.
The CMGP employs a set of toolboxes for MATLAB®, originally written at the WHSC, to read, write, and access netCDF data. A subset of these programs evolved into snctools with mexnc (MATLAB® programs and interface, to read, write, and graph data in netCDF), which are available for download from the source forge web site, http://mexcdf.sourceforge.net/index.html. Having these toolboxes installed is a prerequisite for use of all the other MATLAB® toolboxes used by the CMGP to process oceanographic data. For users who do not have MATLAB® installed, Python packages are available to read and write netCDF and duplicate the mathematical functions. Solutions should be chosen based on the user's locally installed software.