African Climate Data Not Fit For Purpose
By Paul Homewood
In 2011, the UN published this paper on the quality, or otherwise, of climate records in Africa.
Their findings, though coming as no surprise, were clear.
This paper has looked on the situation of climate data and observations network in the continent. It is shown that the spatial distribution is poor with least coverage over rural areas, many stations do not operate and data from some of the operating stations is not fed into the international system. The quality of data is still poor with gaps of missing data and in some cases there are inefficient quality control systems.
The paper goes on to offer more damning facts:
Climate and weather recording in Africa started during the colonial time with a few number of meteorological stations in the continent (Griffiths and Peterson, 1997). Due to the importance of weather and climate information for various socio-economic sectors, the number of meteorological stations increased with time. However, the quality of data i.e., the continuity and the distribution of meteorological stations in Africa are not dense enough for applications such as weather and climate forecasting, climate studies and climate projections….
The density and coverage of existing African climate data observations network have generally been described in many literatures as poor and sparse (Parker et al., 2011; Institute Water for Africa; Washington et al., 2006). These studies warn that there is need to use with care and caution gridded and assimilated climate data derived from Africa…..
According to the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud (Nov.6, 2006), Africa’s weather and climate monitoring system is deteriorating and needs major improvements to meet the challenges of climate change….
The climate observation network in Africa appears to be spatially uneven. Most of the stations are found in cities or airports which in most cases are confined along the main roads. Often times researchers complain about the closure of stations and scanty observations.
Add to all of this the large scale changes to micro climate, caused in the last few decades by deforestation and the like, and it is clear that long term temperature records for most of the continent are effectively worthless. This is something I have been banging the drum on for a while, for instance here.
None of this stops GISS from declaring that most of Africa has been warming in leaps and bounds.