The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 120- Lucinda (Qld)

Monday 30/09/2019

I have been looking at the siting of weather stations all over Australia for many weeks now.  Some are worse than others, but now and then I see one which makes me scratch my head and wonder, how can the Bureau get away with this?  This is one.

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

Station: Lucinda Point 32141

Opened: 1980

Daily Temperature data from: 1980

Data used to adjust Acorn sites at: Cairns

Location:   Co-ordinates    -18.5203 146.3861

Lucinda map

95km north of Townsville, 180km south of Cairns.

BOM site plan 2002:

Lucinda plan2002

Being on the roof of the sugar loader 5.6km offshore, not surprisingly the weather station has not had an update to the site plan since 2002.

 2019 Google satellite image:

Lucinda aerial

This wider Google image shows the length of the jetty.

Lucinda jetty

Putting a weather station on a roof is a direct breach of the Bureau of Meteorology’s own guidelines, which state:

3.6.7  “Shelters shall not be installed on the tops of roofs, or near the exhausts or heat exchangers of such equipment as air conditioners, refrigerators and the like.”

This station cannot possibly record meaningful temperatures.  But these temperatures are duly reported on the Bureau’s websites and on TV and radio.  Not only that, but temperatures at Lucinda are used to adjust temperatures at Cairns, and thus contribute to the official climate record of Australia, and also contribute to global climate analyses by the likes of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) and the Hadley Climate Research Unit (HadCruT).

This station is non-compliant, with temperatures reported at Latest Weather Observations and used to adjust data at Acorn sites.


Percentage of all Australian sites not compliant: 16.57%.

I will be having a break for a few days, so no posts for a little while.

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12 Responses to “The Wacky World of Weather Stations: No. 120- Lucinda (Qld)”

  1. John in Oz Says:

    A well deserved break

  2. Bill in Oz Says:

    Ken when I looked at the Google earth image I was perplexed also. The BOM weather station is located on top of a roof of a building.

    But the building is on a warf at the end of an 6 kilometer long jetty.
    WTF ?

    But Wikipedia says Lucinda is world famous ( sort of ) for being a “sugar-exporting town, Lucinda is noted for its 6 km-long sugar jetty, the world’s largest bulk sugar loading facility.[5] Lucinda is also used as a port for a supply barge to Palm Island.”

    So the BOM weather station is not even on an island off the coast.

    I wonder what BOm thinks it is ‘measuring’ and how can it possibly use this data to adjust ACORN data at other sites ?

    Rubbish BOM ! Rubbish !

  3. Bill in Oz Says:

    Enjoy the break Ken !

  4. Graeme No.3 Says:

    Enjoy your break Ken, and thanks for your good work.

    Bill, there will be a bulk warehouse on land and when the ship comes to load, caterpillar tractors will scoop up raw sugar and load it onto the 6 km. conveyor belt out to the loading station (where the “weather station” is perched on the roof). There will be machinery inside the loading point to raise/lower the discharge point and possibly some means of changing direction. As it would be a nuisance to move the ship when it is time to fill another hold, this implies a secondary belt plus more machinery inside the loading station. It is probable that the machinery is diesel powered, so more heat output.
    All in all, a disastrous siting (unless one wanted to have extra heat).

    • Bill in Oz Says:

      Thanks for that information Graeme. Yes a very very odd place for a BOM weather station. Measuring the temperature after all the heat generated by the machinery.

  5. auspeterb Says:

    Ken, Bill, Graeme,
    No excuses but the site would need at least an anemometer and tide and current flow for docking ships. The BOM for their part would have used standard equipment. The sin was then to use the temp component.

  6. Anto Says:

    Hi Ken,

    I’d be interested to know whether you discover any (and how many) stations located in positions that would report lower temps than one would logically expect the unaffected environment to be.

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Yes, there are stations which will report lower maxima- stations too close to vegetation e.g. trees, sugar cane, shrubbery, or protected from hot northwest winds by e.g. prison walls or hedges. Lower minima will be in hollows or the bottom of slopes, or close to cliff edges where winds off the ocean are stronger..

  7. Bill In Oz Says:

    Ken do you mind if I suggest another job ?

    I think it would be really worthwhile to do a post on ‘how’ to check the BOM weather stations. I can & do do it. But for many folk it is a complete mystery.

    Such a post would serve a few purposes :
    1: Allow readers here to double check for themselves what you are reporting about these stations..And that is always good.It helps them become citizen scientists !
    2: It would also build up a ‘corps’ of people willing to help with checking the BOM’s weather stations. That might save you a lot of future work.
    3: I am coming to the view that the BOM’s rainfall stations also need to be checked out. And there are a lot more of them than temperature stations. Doing this would the become feasible.

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Yes Bill, good idea, I’ve done it in the past but it definitely is time to do another one.
      And yes rainfall stations are another problem. A BOM observer told me a few years ago that inspections revealed rain gauges under trees, under roofs (!) so there’s another line to follow up.

  8. Australia's Wacky Weather Stations: Final Summary | kenskingdom Says:

    […] behind 6 metre prison walls, beside piles of human excrement, in the middle of a dirt road, on the roof of a wharf shed, beside a multi-lane highway, shaded by trees, or in screens that are covered in spider webs, […]

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