Germany’s All-Time Record High Set In 2015 Looks Dubious …Likely Due To UHI / Instrumentation Error

At the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Helmut Kuntz writes that Germany’s all-time record high temperature recorded last year, 2015, is likely an artifact of the urban heat island effect (UHI) and instrumentation error margins.

In 2015 the Kitzingen weather station located in southern Germany set a new all-time high when it reached 40.3°C — twice: on July 5 and August 7 — breaking the earlier record of 40.2°C set on 27 July 1983 in Gärmersdorf. The whopping margin: a whole 0.1°C! Photo right: Kitzingen station.

So why is Kitzingen suddenly so hot?

EIKE guest writer Josef Kowatsch has often claimed that the UHI has played a major role in producing the warming effect over the past decades. Recently that claim got a boost of support from University of Wurzburg climate researcher Prof. Heiko Paeth, who in an interview with MAIN POST daily here on September 7, 2016, stated that it likely has more to do with station siting then it does with a climate trend.

According to Prof. Paeth, the high reading can be traced back to Kitzingen having certain special features.

First the town of Kitzingen is located at a relatively low elevation some 20 km east of Wurzburg — situated in the Main Valley at the bottom of a sort of a bowl where heat can collect.

Secondly, he tells the MAIN POST that fresh, westerly winds that normally act to cool Germany in the summertime have been obstructed by a commercial district built not long ago where once a US base had been located. The Main Post writes:

What remains is an obstacle for the air flow from the west. The town has blocked off its fresh air feed-in duct, says Paeth. ‘That could be an explanation for the heat.'”

Instrumentation error margin of +-0.4°C

Moreover Kuntz reports that the Kitzingen station was first put into operation in 2005 and the German DWD weather service equipped it with the electronic PT 100 instrument, which in comparison tests has been shown to produce considerably higher readings. Also such a weather station has a temperature measurement error of +-0.4°C at temperatures of 40°C:

Accuracy of the WXT 520 sensor for weather stations. As the ambient temperature rises over 0°C, so does the margin of error.

Kuntz adds that if the urban heat island effect is the reason for the 0.1°C temperature increase over the last 32 years in Germany, then the supposed climate change warming of the planet looks like as follows:

– Globally it has not gotten warmer over the past 103 years.
– The global temperature upper limit temperature has not changed at all in 74 years.
– It has not gotten warmer in Germany over the past 32 years.
– If the “discarded” older measurements were used, it would be much warmer earlier than currently stated.

14 responses to “Germany’s All-Time Record High Set In 2015 Looks Dubious …Likely Due To UHI / Instrumentation Error”

  1. yonason

    “As the ambient temperature rises over 0°C, so does the margin of error.” – legend under graph of same

    And these are the new improved thermometers??!!!

    Good Grief.

  2. yonason

    Looks like they are suffering from a malady similar to what has infected (infested) NASA.

  3. Mikky

    Even without UHI this record figure will have a rising trend simply because as more stations are added some of the new ones will be in warmer places than the existing stations, especially if the warmest existing stations are discarded, for being too warm.

    Lies, damn lies, and climate statistics.

    1. Mikky

      Record figures like this are useful to indicate the range of temperatures one might encounter in a particular country, but they should definitely not be used to indicate climate change, which requires something designed to avoid bias, such as sticking to a FIXED sub-set of FIXED stations with LONG histories.

  4. Fred Harwood

    My bride and I lived for two years in Kitzingen, 1963-1965. Our son was born in Wurzburg. The surrounding lands were agricultural, and even in the hofs, most homes had extensive vegetable gardens. We passed through a fews years ago and were amazed by the land-use changes. Where fruit orchards, hay fields, and pasture once graced hillsides, arrays of solar panels, suburbs, and shops stood. We were unable to find our old apartment in nearby Albertshofen, and backyards had been gentrified. Now, every home had all the amenities of modern life, full-sized refrigerators, and AC.

  5. John F. Hultquist

    Put ‘ conneKT ‘ into Google Earth and go to:

    conneKT Technologiepark, Kitzingen, Germany
    That’s the obstructing commercial district built not long ago where once a US base had been located.
    The location and history of the weather station is not something I can find.

    I got a chuckle, though, when first I searched for Kitzingen and Google Earth placed the dot for the place name in a large brown field.

    Another issue is how do we know the earlier record of 40.2°C set on 27 July 1983 in Gärmersdorf is correct? Was the reading correct, rounded from somewhere between 40.150 and 40.249?
    It’s time for a beer, or something stronger.

    1. tom0mason



      The WXT520, manufactured by Vaisala, is a solid-state, all-in-one weather instrument that measures wind speed and direction, precipitation, barometric pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. Its small size makes it ideal for quick, short-term deployments. However, the WXT520 is not intended for weather stations that require research-grade performance.

      [my bold]

  6. mikewaite

    One should not get too upset about the UHI effect. Reflect that most of us in Western Europe are city and town dwellers and our daily comfort or discomfort may actually be accurately measured by the thermometers located in urban areas.
    The use of such measurements to follow global climate changes rather than our daily experience is of course a different matter. Perhaps one should abandon such sensors in favour of refining sea surface temperature measurements or satellite low – to mid troposphere measurements.
    Urban measurements , even if enhanced by UHI, are fine for local weather (which is really all that most people are interested in). Scientific investigations of long term global trends need other techniques

    1. DirkH

      ” Perhaps one should abandon such sensors in favour of refining sea surface temperature measurements or satellite low – to mid troposphere measurements.”

      Of course. Satellites have complete spatial coverage and therefore suffer less from the Niquist/Shannon theorem in spatial dimensions (Still suffer SOMEWHAT as the resolution isn’t limitless). Furthermore, less sensors = less sources of error.

      What is fascinating is that NASA runs the satellites but refuses to use them for their warmunist GISS temperature product. They know what they’re doing: It is much simpler to pay that crook in NYC to fiddle with the thermometers so the US govt coughs up 1.2 bn USD a year because of the TERRIBLE TERRIBLE dreadful fate we all face when it will get a little warmer (which it doesn’t and won’t).

  7. AndyG55

    Same as in Australia, BOM discards a lot of very warm temperatures before 1910.

  8. DennisA

    Tony Heller has several posts on UHI including this one:

    “NOAA shows warm season night time temperatures rapidly rising in the US. Many skeptics blame this on UHI effects. However, the raw data shows that all night time summer warming in the US is due to data tampering, not UHI. Summer nights are no warmer now than they were in the late 19th century.”

  9. D. Steven Fraser

    After reading the manual, the siting has issues on multiple levels in addition to UHI.

    1) needs a150 m circle free from obstruction. The visible hedge intrudes.
    2) any buildings must be at least 10x their height in distance from the unit.

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