The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 95- Lady Elliott Island (Qld)

Please refer back to my first post for site specifications and to No. 92- Logan City for 2018 specifications.

Station: Lady Elliott Island 39059

Opened: 1939

Daily Temperature data from: 1957

Data used to adjust Acorn sites at: —

Location:   Co-ordinates   -24.1116 152.7161

LadyElliott map

About 375km north of Brisbane and 95km north-east of Bundaberg.

BOM site plan 2018:

LadyElliott plan2018

We know it is oriented correctly to True North because the 2013 plan is oriented to Magnetic North, and the airstrip hasn’t changed:

LadyElliott plan2013

2019 Google satellite image:

LadyElliott aerial

Specifications say the screen should be 60 metres from a runway.  This screen is within 30 metres.  There are two signs 20 metres to the west.  And birds nest around the enclosure from October to April.

This station is non-compliant, with temperatures reported at Latest Weather Observations but not used to adjust data at Acorn sites.


Percentage of all sites not compliant: 13.12%

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5 Responses to “The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 95- Lady Elliott Island (Qld)”

  1. Bill in Oz Says:

    Ken you wrote “Specifications say the screen should be 60 metres from a runway.”

    But do you mean to say : “Specifications say the screen should be at least 60 metres from a runway” ?

    Ii find this BOM weather station very perplexing. It is on a small island. The natural shrub vegetation can be seen on the LHS of the airstrip in Google satellite image. But the grass airstrip is about 20% of the island’s surface. Also almost all the Island surface on the RHS of the airstrip has been cleared of the natural vegetation and replaced with grass..

    In sum about about 40% of the island’s surface is substantially modified by human intervention.

    And the BOM weather station is located in that cleared 40% – just off the runway.

    On this island so exposed to sea breezes and winds, surely this has an impact on the temperatures recorded by the thermometer. Without knowing in detail the local climate, winds, rainfall pattern etc. I cannot say exactly how the temperature record is affected. ( That’s ob for a local ! ) But it is impacted I’m sure.

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Yes, 60m is the minimum distance. And you are right in every respect about Lady Elliott Is.
      BOM specs also say weather stations should not be near large bodies of water!!

  2. Bill In Oz Says:

    The ABC has published a big article about Lady Elliot Island here :

    It was mined in the 1860’s for guano and then abandoned with no native vegetation left. The current owners have been gradually revegetating the island. Interesting story and all power to them for their work.But knowing this history makes the BOM’s weather station here even more wacky.

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Interesting! So the weather station and possibly the airstrip dates from 1939, when the island was apparently devoid of vegetation, and since then vegetation has been re-planted and grown back, another example of how supposedly pristine weather stations and their surroundings can change over time.

      • Bill In Oz Says:

        No Lady Elliot Island is not at all pristine, though the present owners are trying hard to restore parts of it. ( Not the airstrip obviously; 20% of the island’s surface area.. )

        I ‘m not sure about when the airstrip was built. But most likely during WW2 with a radar station maybe to give warning of any Japanese navy & aircraft approaching ?

        But this begs the question as to what the impact of such major changes in the Island’s environment, has had on the temperature record measured by the BOM’s weather station.

        In 1957 the island would have been largely bare coral & sand with regrown grass maybe. That implies higher temperatures. And the recent revegetation program could have lead to lower temperatures – if the temperature gauge was not so close to the airstrip !

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