File Exchange

image thumbnail

Read netCDF files and display variable information

version (1.72 KB) by Christian Stranne
Loads netCDF files and displays info about variables. Tested for ERA and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data.


Updated 26 Aug 2013

View Version History

View License

This script loads netCDF files into MATLAB and displays info about the dimensions and variables.

The code should at least work on ERA-40, ERA-interim and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data.

I wrote the script since I can't find a function in the built-in set of netCDF functions included in MATLAB that displays all header info of the file, equivalent to the old 'ncdump' function.

Cite As

Christian Stranne (2021). Read netCDF files and display variable information (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (7)



Hi, I used your script, It worked perfect, except for the time variable. I don't understand the value, I tried with matlab date format, but It's not. Could you explain me? I'm using pressure levels from Era-Interim.

Christian Stranne


I can help you to plot the data if you describe the data set you are using and what kind of plot you want to make.

Send an email to


Can you help me how to plot it?

Christian Stranne


There is a link to the upper right of the web page "CS_read_netCDF.m". If you left click on the link you will see the code and you can copy/paste. You can also right click and choose "save link as" and save the file to your computer. Hope this helps.

/ Christian

Roberta Dag

This file does not exist... How / where can I find this script? Thank you... I work with NCEP/NCAR and I really need this.


Thanks, this was very close to what I was looking for and worked as an example of using the low level NetCDF routines.

I wanted to pass the data back to a calling routine as a structure, and also wanted to remove the singleton dimensions, so I updated the getVar call to:
eval(['dstruct.' varname '= double(squeeze(netcdf.getVar(ncid,i)));']) ;

Since I also wanted to load the attributes into another structure, I needed to add some steps to handle attribute names that are not legal field names, converting spaces etc to underscores; also the assign statements for character attributes needed to be modified for that.

An excellent example file for the Matlab help would be a routine that loads a NetCDF file, modifies some fields, and writes out a new NetCDF. That would cover all the bases, I think. In the absence of that, this was a big help - thanks!

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2010a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!