OBPG File Naming Convention

As the Ocean Biology Processing Group and the Ocean Biology Distributed Active Archive Center add to the number of supported data sets, it was determined that the existing file naming convention lacked consistency. In an effort to address the shortcomings of a naming convention that was originally designed to support a single mission, a new convention was defined. Begninging in October 2019, this new convention will be in use by the OBPG. It will be applied to each mission/data set as it is reprocessed by the OBPG. The first data set to get the new scheme will be the SST data sets for MODIS (Aqua and Terra, R2019) and SNPP VIIRS (R2016).


  • MMMM*: variable-length uppercase character string indicating the "mission".
    • e.g. AQUA, PACE, S3A
  • IIII: variable-length uppercase character string indicating the instrument
    • e.g. OCI (PACE Ocean Color Instrument)
  • TTT: (value is absent if not relevant to product) variable-length uppercase character string indicating the data "type"
    • e.g. GAC (SeaWiFS Global Area Coverage); EFR (OLCI Full Resolution)
  • YYYYMMDDTHHMMSS: ISO8601 time format, where YYYY is the 4-digit year, MM is the two-digit month, DD is the two-digit day, T indicates the time follows this character, HHMMSS are the two-digit hour, minutes, and seconds, respectively.
  • LLLL: variable-length character string indicating the level.
    • e.g. L1B, L2, L3m
  • PPPP: period indicator for L3
    • e.g. DAY, MO, YR, R32
  • SSSS: suite identifier
    • e.g. RRS, CHL
  • pppp: product identifier
    • e.g. Rrs_412, chlor_a
  • RRRR**: resolution
    • e.g. 4km
  • NRT: (value is absent if not relevant to product) Near Real-Time identifier

* The mission identifier could be a reasonably shortened representation, e.g. Sentinel-3A = S3A
** The resolution element includes the units, e.g. 4km, 1deg


Note: Switching to this convention will occur at a reprocessing (or initial processing in the case of the OLCI sensors). For the Level 1 source data we control (e.g. SeaWiFS), the change in name will accompany a change in file format (HDF4->NetCDF-4)

Level 1
Data Product Sample Filename Previous Filename
SeaWiFS GAC L1A SEASTAR_SEAWIFS_GAC.20030601T153712.L1A.nc S20030601153712.L1A_GAC
CZCS L1A NIMBUS7_CZCS.19820129T172118.L1A.nc C19820129172118.L1A_MLAC
VIIRS SNPP L1A SNPP_VIIRS.20190101T123600.L1A.nc V2019001123600.L1A_SNPP.nc
VIIRS JPSS1 GEO NOAA20_VIIRS.20190101T123500.GEO_M.nc V2019284200000.GEO-M_JPSS1.nc
SeaHawk-1 Hawkeye L1A SEAHAWK1_HAWKEYE.20190630T145034.L1A.nc N/A
Level 2
Data Product Sample Filename Previous Filename
Sentinel-3A OLCI ERR L2 OC suite S3A_OLCI_ERR.20190101T123500.L2.OC.nc N/A
SeaWiFS GAC IOP suite SEASTAR_SEAWIFS_GAC.20030601T153712.L2.IOP.nc S20030601T153712.L2_GAC_IOP.nc
MODIS Aqua SST suite AQUA_MODIS.20050630T133500.L2.SST.nc A2005182133500.L2_LAC_SST.nc
VIIRS JPSS1 OC suite NOAA20_VIIRS.20190101T123500.L2.OC.nc V2019001123600.L2_JPSS1_OC.nc
MERIS FRS L2 OC suite ENVISAT_MERIS_FRS.20030630T153712.L2.OC.nc M20030630T153712.L2_FRS_OC.nc
CZCS L2 OC suite NIMBUS7_CZCS.19820129T172118.L2.OC.nc C1979002071718.L2_MLAC_OC.nc
Level 3
Data Product Sample Filename Previous Filename
Sentinel-3A OLCI ERR L3b CHL suite S3A_OLCI_ERR.2019001.L3b.DAY.CHL.nc N/A
MODIS Terra L3m Daily 4km chlor_a product TERRA_MODIS.20181001.L3m.DAY.CHL.chlor_a.4km.nc T2018274.L3m_DAY_CHL_chlor_a_4km.nc
SeaWiFS L3m Monthly 9km calcite product SEASTAR_SEAWIFS_GAC.20030601_20030630.L3m.MO.PIC.pic.9km.nc S20031522003181.L3m_MO_PIC_pic_9km.nc
MODIS Aqua L3b Weekly IOP Suite AQUA_MODIS.20050101_20050108.L3b.8D.IOP.nc A20050012005008.L3b_8D_IOP.nc
VIIRS SNPP OC L3b Rolling 3D NRT RRS suite SNPP_VIIRS.20190929_20191001.L3b.R3D.RRS.NRT.nc V20192722019274.L3m_R3QL_SNPP_RRS.nc
OCTS L3m Autumn Seasonal Rrs_443 9km ADEOS_OCTS_GAC.19960921_19971220.L3m.SNAU.RRS.Rrs_443.9km.nc O19962651997355.L3m_SNAU_RRS_Rrs_443_9km.nc