Articles | Volume 12, issue 9
Development and technical paper
23 Sep 2019
Development and technical paper |  | 23 Sep 2019

Evaluation of lossless and lossy algorithms for the compression of scientific datasets in netCDF-4 or HDF5 files

Xavier Delaunay, Aurélie Courtois, and Flavien Gouillon

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Cited articles

Baker, A. H., Hammerling, D. M., Mickelson, S. A., Xu, H., Stolpe, M. B., Naveau, P., Sanderson, B., Ebert-Uphoff, I., Samarasinghe, S., De Simone, F., Carbone, F., Gencarelli, C. N., Dennis, J. M., Kay, J. E., and Lindstrom, P.: Evaluating lossy data compression on climate simulation data within a large ensemble, Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 4381–4403,, 2016. 
Caron, J.: Compression by Scaling and Offset, available at: (last access: 27 September 2018), 2014a. 
Caron, J.: Compression by bit shaving, available at: (last access: 27 September 2018), 2014b. 
Collet, Y.: LZ4 lossless compression algorithm, available at: (last access: 27 September 2018), 2013. 
Collet, Y. and Turner, C.: Smaller and faster data compression with Zstandard, available at: (last access: 27 September 2018), 2016. 
Short summary
This research aimed at finding a compression method suitable for the ground processing of CFOSAT and SWOT satellite datasets. Lossless algorithms did not allow enough compression. That is why we began studying lossy alternatives. This work introduces the digit rounding algorithm which reduces the volume of scientific datasets keeping only the significant digits in each sample value. The number of digits kept is relative to each sample so that both small and high values are similarly preserved.