Weather Station (Lack Of) Maintenance

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In Spain, Paco Eslava García has been following my lead on the poor quality of weather stations that produce record-high temperatures. I recently pointed out how the tentative all time high temperature in Africa could very well be due to being at an airport. I also pointed out that high temperature records in the Los Angeles area could be a product of poor siting. Such as this station on the roof of the Santa Ana fire station:

My study at AGU looked at how hundreds of such poorly sited stations are increasing the temperature trend of the United States.

But what Paco has found in Spain is truly laughable.

Here’s his Tweet showing why:


This is the meteorological station, which has the highest temperature record in Spain, is located in the municipal district of Montoro… maybe a little maintenance would not hurt!

What Paco is speaking of is the Stevenson Screen. The box with slats to allow airflow. That’s where the thermometer is located. It’s supposed to be white, to minimize the solar heating effect. But as you can see, it’s not white at all, it’s brown due to lack of paint, which seems to have worn off:

It also appears that the front door of the screen may be missing. The vegetation is too high near it, blocking wind, and there’s a large concrete structure nearby.

Paco adds this photo, where you can see the station in the distance just under the word “Vega”:

Here’s the rub as to why this station is a problem.The 2017 heat wave that brought a new all-time high temperature record.

Spain records hottest day at 47.3C (117F)

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Then the following afternoon, it was even hotter with Montoro setting a new national record of 47.3C surpassing the 1990 record of 47.2C. Cordoba also set a new all-time record with a high of 46.9C while Madrid set a new July record with 40.2C.

I wonder if the State Meteorological Service of Spain (AEMET) bothered to go look at the weather station at Montoro before they verified that all-time high record. Probably not. That’s an embarrassing failure of science either way.

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that this station is part of GHCN, so it doesn’t make it into temperature trends. But it does make it into climatic citations for all-time-records, and plenty of headlines. That’s still unacceptable.

Surface albedo matters when it comes to high temperatures, and a Stevenson screen that has lost it’s paint and exposes darkened wood absorbs more incoming solar radiation during the day, making the interior warmer than it should be.

But hey, let’s just call it “climate change” and nod to the consensus, as AEMET apparently did.

A friend of Paco,  has found some other issues. He writes (translated):

Here you can see three central AEMet stations. The first manual, the second with two wind towers in the front of the building and between the Grove and the last, the automatic which is officially used on the terrace.

For example, here’s another Stevenson Screen with a dark roof.

Another freind,  writes of another poorly sited station (also with a dark roof and chipping paint) that set the previous record:

Be cautious about Tmax on some Spain stations in next days. I have doubts about Montoro (p.1) st. Every day is 1-2 °C warmer than other hottest st. in Spain P.2 Murcia Alfonso X measured 47,2 in 1995, BUT…


Measuring temperature in the street, on rooftops, and using poorly maintained equipment is just irresponsible, and isn’t what you’d expect of science. One wonders if AEMET is just lazy, incompetent, or both?


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