Effects of undetected data quality issues on climatological analyses

Stefan Hunziker, Stefan Brönnimann, Juan Calle, Isabel Moreno, Marcos Andrade, Laura Ticona, Adrian Huerta, Waldo Lavado-Casimiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Systematic data quality issues may occur at various stages of the data generation process. They may affect large fractions of observational datasets and remain largely undetected with standard data quality control. This study investigates the effects of such undetected data quality issues on the results of climatological analyses. For this purpose, we quality controlled daily observations of manned weather stations from the Central Andean area with a standard and an enhanced approach. The climate variables analysed are minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation. About 40ĝ% of the observations are inappropriate for the calculation of monthly temperature means and precipitation sums due to data quality issues. These quality problems undetected with the standard quality control approach strongly affect climatological analyses, since they reduce the correlation coefficients of station pairs, deteriorate the performance of data homogenization methods, increase the spread of individual station trends, and significantly bias regional temperature trends. Our findings indicate that undetected data quality issues are included in important and frequently used observational datasets and hence may affect a high number of climatological studies. It is of utmost importance to apply comprehensive and adequate data quality control approaches on manned weather station records in order to avoid biased results and large uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalClimate of the Past
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This work is part of the project “Data on climate and Extreme weather for the Central AnDEs” (DECADE), no. IZ01Z0_147320, which is financed by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d). It was also supported by the EU Horizon 2020 EUSTACE project (grant agreement 640171). We thank Peter Domonkos for the support on ACMANT3 and Xuebin Zhang and Yang Feng for providing the newest version of RClimDex. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Author(s).


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