During last week’s record-setting European heat wave, Germany’s previous record of 40.3C was impressively shattered by the measurement station located at the northwest city of Lingen, near the Dutch border, some 50 kilometers from where I live. The German DWD weather service and media loved it!
Yet, controversy now swirls about the new record setting measurement since it has come to light that the measurement is fraught with some considerable siting issues.
As the photo published by T-online here shows, the station is located right near a DWD office building, is shielded from the wind by grown trees and is located not far from a public swimming pool.
Meteorologist Michael Theusner told t-online.de: “The monthly average of the daily highs in Lingen has been deviating more and more upwards from the average of the highs in Lower Saxony since 2010.” The station has become increasingly shielded and thus tends to heat up more.
Swiss veteran meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann wrote the extra heat possibly could be heating the station by up to another 3 degrees!
DWD accepts overheated reading
Germany’s DWD national weather service has even confirmed that the station’s siting is no longer adequate and that a move to a new site had been already long planned. But despite the acknowledged poor siting, the DWD went ahead and confirmed the reading as valid. The 42.6°C reading now stands as Germany’s new all-time recorded high temperature, no matter how questionable the reading may be.
Valid? How does Lingen compare to other temperature stations located nearby? I did a check.
Fifty kilometers to the east of Lingen where I live (Quakenbrück), my home thermometer showed a high of 38.2°C. That’s unofficial, of course, but it made the Lingen reading look suspicious. So I decided to compare Lingen to the other official stations nearby to see if their readings were as hot as Lingen’s.
The surrounding readings do indeed confirm meteorologist Kachelmann’s gut suspicion. Lingen readings are suspiciously 2 – 3C hotter than those of its neighboring stations.
What follows is a chart depicting the readings recorded by the Lingen station over the past past week. The DWD itself stated that the mercury in fact reached 42.6°C on Thursday (Do. 25.07)!
Now looking at the Nordhorn station, located some 20 kilometers away, here the mercury climbed to 40.9°C, which is 1.7°C below the Lingen reading:
At the Meppen station, also located some 20 km away to the north of Lingen, the mercury reached 39.2°C, a far cry (3.4°C) from Lingen’s maximum reading:
At the military base in Diepholz, some 65 km to the east, the high on Thursday reached 38.7 degrees, i.e. almost 4°C below the Lingen reading!
In Bersenbrück, some 40 km to the east, according to wetterkontor.de, the mercury rose to 39.6°C, which is 3°C below Lingen’s record reading.
More than 2°C hotter than surrounding stations!
A summary of all the temperature readings recorded at Lingen compared to those of 6 nearby stations for the past 5 days, July 23 – July 27:
On every single day, Lingen handily beat its neighbors by at times large margins. Did the climate aim some sort of giant heat ray at Lingen?
2.6°C hotter than adjacent stations
On the record-setting date of Thursday, July 25, 2019, the mean of the 6 neighboring stations listed in the table was an eyebrow-raising 2.6°C below the Lingen reading. All the stations cited around the Lingen station all share very similar topographical characteristics, and all are located on the north German flatlands, and thus comparable.
No doubt the reading at Lingen is accurate. But it looks like the siting of the Lingen station is causing overheated conditions. The DWD should think twice before accepting Lingen’s dubious 42.6°C reading as a valid new record and allowing it to flow into the statistics.
In the contest to be the hottest city in Germany, Lingen cheated.