Running Mathematica on my home computer, I can list the contents of a netCDF file but can't read them, as shown in the image of my session . On my work computer I can both list contents and read them, as shown in the image of my session . These two computers are very similar--both MacBook Pro's with Intel Core processors and 16GB memory--and they are executing the same Mathematica commands.
I find the error message that I get on my home computer particularly mysterious. It says that the import element "is not present when importing as HDF5." Where did I ask Mathematica to import netCDF data as HDF?