McIDAS Learning Guide
Version 2015

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Grids and Grid Files - Basic Concepts


A grid is a lattice of regularly spaced data points superimposed on a projection of the earth. Grids can store numerical model data and serve as an interface between observational data stored in MD files and analyzed data displayed as contours on a frame. To contour observational data, compute derived parameters, and display manually digitized radar (MDR) data, etc., the data must first be interpolated from the observing locations to a uniform latitude, longitude lattice. McIDAS stores this geographic lattice as a grid.

Grid Files

Grids are stored in grid files, GRIB files or netCDF files. This manual will focus mainly on grid files because it is a format designed specifically for McIDAS and it is the format used when copying or modifying grids. Grid files use the naming convention GRnnnnnn where nnnnnn is the six-digit file number. If the file number is less than six digits, I and D replace the first two digits and zeros precede the number. For example, GR111111 is the name of the file for grid 111111, GRI90112 is the name for grid file 90112, and GRID0013 is the name for grid file 13. In ADDE, sequences of grid files are grouped together in a dataset.

Grid File Format

Each grid file contains a grid file directory and up to 10,000 grids. Each grid contains a grid header and grid data, as shown below. A sample grid dataset directory and a listing of grid header information are also shown below.

  Dataset Position  Creation Date Max Grids         Directory Title
  ----------------  ------------- --------- ------------------------------- 
         1             1993070        159   12Z 93070 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID
         2             1993071        159   00Z 93071 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID
         3             1993071        159   12Z 93071 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID
         4             1993072        159   00Z 93072 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID
         5             1993072        159   12Z 93072 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID

 Dataset position 1      Directory Title= 12Z 93070 NMC NGM TRAINING GRID
 ----- ------- ------------ -------- ---- ----- ------------ -------- ------ ---- 
 Z     1000 MB 11 MAR 93070 12:00:00  ROI     0 11 MAR 93070 12:00:00      1 MERC
 Total pts= 1188  Num rows=  33  Num columns=  36    received:      0 000000Z
 No GRIB number information 
 Units of gridded variable are GPM  Scale of variable is:   2
 Mercator Projection
 Min Lat=  20.00  Max Lat=  60.00  Min Lon=  52.50  Max Lon= 140.00
 Latitude Increment= 1.2500  Longitude Increment= 2.5000
 Number of grids listed = 1

Manipulating Grids and Grid Files

The GRDLIST and GRDCOPY commands manipulate individual grids or groups of grids. GRDLIST can list grids, while GRDCOPY can copy, move, and perform mathematical operations on grids. These operations include adding or subtracting two grids, filling a grid with a constant value, or redefining all values within a grid that are less than a specified number to be a new number (e.g., all values less than zero are set to zero). If you have u and v component grids, you can create a vorticity or divergence grid, or use the grid components to advect a parameter in another grid.

The GRDINFO command provides information about grids. You can use it to list information about the grid header and statistics on the grid data, or list data points.

The GRDLIST and GRDCOPY commands can also manipulate grid files. With these commands you can create, list, or copy a grid file.

SSEC's Real-time Grid Data

SSEC receives real-time grid data for many numerical models via the NOAAPORT data stream. The models and datasets change frequently so the following list is just an example of grid dataset names and models that are available.
ADDE Dataset Description

RTGRIDS/ALL All model grids decoded by McIDAS-XCD
RTGRIDS/AWC-ALL National Convective Weather Diagnostic grids
RTGRIDS/AWR-ALL Alaska Waters Regional Wave Model grids
RTGRIDS/ECM-ALL European Cntr for Med range Weather Forecasting grids
RTGRIDS/ENP-ALL Eastern North Pacific Regional Wave Model grids
RTGRIDS/FFG-ALL NWS Flash Flood Guidance System grids
RTGRIDS/GFS-ALL Global Forecast System grids
RTGRIDS/ICA-ALL Ice Concentration Analysis grids
RTGRIDS/ICN-ALL Current Icing Potential grids
RTGRIDS/MDR-ALL Manually Digitized Radar grids
RTGRIDS/NAH-ALL North Atlantic Hurricane Wave Model grids
RTGRIDS/NAM-ALL North American Mesoscale Model grids
RTGRIDS/NCE-ALL NCEP quantitative precipitation forecast grids
RTGRIDS/NGM-ALL Nested Grid Model grids
RTGRIDS/NPH-ALL North Pacific Hurricane Wave Model grids
RTGRIDS/RCM-ALL Radar Code Message grids
RTGRIDS/RFC-ALL River Forecast Center mosaic grids
RTGRIDS/RUC-ALL Rapid Update Cycle model grids
RTGRIDS/SST-ALL Sea Surface Temp Analysis grids
RTGRIDS/UKM-ALL Global Coastal Ocean Circulation grids
RTGRIDS/WHG-ALL Great Lakes wind wave height grids
RTGRIDS/WNA-ALL Western North Atlantic Regional Wave Model grids
RTGRIDS/WWF-ALL Global Wind-Wave Forecast grids

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