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Q1: Where are the data?
A1: Aura data are available to the general public from the GES DISC DAAC's web ordering interface, a.k.a. Mirador, a Google-like Interface.   Remember OMI, MLS and HIRDLS data are archived at the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information Services Center (GES DISC) DAAC .  If you are looking for TES data, please see the DAAC at NASA Langley Research Center.

Q2: What tools can I use to read Aura data files?
A2: Please see our list of tools and services link on how to read Aura data files. The Aura level 2 data products share a common format (HDF-EOS5 Swath), and so one tool should be able to read data from any of the Aura instruments.

Q3: What is HDF?
A3: HDF stands for the Hierarchical Data Format and was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, or NCSA. It is a machine independent (portable) and self-describing format in that it contains information about the layout, data types, array sizes, etc.within the data file.  HDF consists of multiple object types for storing scientific data.  Currently there are two versions: old HDF (latest version is 4.2r1) and the newer HDF5 (latest version is 1.8.1). Each has its own separate set of libraries. They are not backward compatible. For more information, see HDF  Group Home page.

Q4: What is HDF-EOS?
A4: HDF-EOS is the Earth Observing System's implementation of HDF, which contains geolocation information to support Earth Science data sets.  There are four HDF-EOS model types: GRID (regular gridded map projected data), SWATH (irregular gridded orbital data), POINT (for station data), and ZA (for zonal average data).   HDF-EOS files are built with a set of specially arranged HDF objects, and thus can be read with ordinary HDF software.  As with HDF, there are two version: old HDF-EOS (latest version is 2.12) and the newer HDF-EOS5 (latest version is 5.1.9).  Each version of HDF-EOS has its own set of libraries.  See the HDF-EOS home page to learn more.

Q5: Can I read HDF5/HDF-EOS5 files with my old HDF/HDF-EOS software?
A5: Not necessarily.HDF5 is a complete re-write of the HDF code and utilizes its own set of libraries.Some tools such as NCSA's HDFView or IDL's version 6.1 support both old HDF and new HDF5.  You need the HDF5 libraries to read HDF5 data files (and HDF-EOS5 libraries for HDF-EOS5 files). You need the old HDF libraries to read HDF data files (and HDF-EOS libraries for HDF-EOS files).  Remember, the two versions are not backward compatible!

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Last updated: May 01, 2013 02:02 PM ET