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Specialisations by Project


For scientists wishing to document their work in a loosely structured fashion, The ES-DOC project provides support for so-called specialisations. On a project by project basis, groups of scientists can come together to declare a hierarchy of topics whereby each topic is associated with a fine-grained set of questions. Each root topic is known as a specialisation.


As with the CIM, specialisations are declared by the community using a pythonic domain specific language. From the definitions are forward engineered assets that are in turn leveraged by upstream tools & applications, e.g. the specialisations web viewer.

Each specialisation set consists of a so-called top-level topic plus a set of high-level topics. The topics are declared within python modules as structured dictionaries.


# --------------------------------------------------------------------
# SUB-PROCESS: sub_grid_scale_ice_distribution
# --------------------------------------------------------------------
DETAILS['sub_grid_scale_ice_distribution'] = {
    'description': 'Sub-grid scale ice distribution',
    'properties': [
        ('type', 'ENUM:sub_grid_scale_h2o_distribution_type', '1.1',
            'Sub-grid scale ice distribution type'),
        ('function_name', 'str', '1.1',
            'Sub-grid scale ice distribution function name'),
        ('function_order', 'int', '1.1',
            'Sub-grid scale ice distribution function type'),
        ('convection_coupling', 'ENUM:sub_grid_scale_h2o_distribution_convection', '1.N',
            'Sub-grid scale ice distribution coupling with convection'),

ENUMERATIONS['sub_grid_scale_h2o_distribution_convection'] = {
    'description': 'Type(s) of convection that the formation of clouds is coupled with',
    'is_open': False,
    'members': [
        ('coupled with deep', None),
        ('coupled with shallow', None),
        ('not coupled with convection', None),

Example Notes

Above is defined a CMIP6 atmosphere specialisation: sub_grid_scale_ice_distribution. The specialisation consists of a description plus a set of associated properties. Each property is declared as a 4 member tuple:

  • name
    • lower case underscore property name
    • must be unique within the proeprty set
  • type
    • property data type
    • valid values = bool | float | int | str | l-str | ENUM:enum_name
  • cardinality
    • type of relationship to associated specialisation
    • valid values = 0.1 | 1.1 | 0.N | 1.N
  • description
    • scientifically relevant description

It will be noted that one of the properties, namely convection_coupling, is declared as an enumeration type. This mechanism constrains a property to a pre-defined set of values.


The ES-DOC tool chain parses specialisation defintiions. Each specialisation is validated, once validated they are assigned a unique identifier thereby becoming eligible for use within the wider eco-system.

The identifer is constructed as follows:

  • {project}.{parent-topics}.{property}

For example:

  • cmip6.atmos.cloud_scheme.sub_grid_scale_ice_distribution