The climate model I'm planning to run is compatible with the g95 compiler, not gfortran. So, first thing was to download and install the g95 binaries.
The next step is to download and compile the NetCDF libraries from NCAR. Before configuring, I had to export the FC environment variable to g95 to get it to compile correctly with g95. Running make check also passed.
Other tools (at least for me) that are needed, but won't describe is svn, git, and nco.