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What is a Stevenson's Screen? How is the design beneficial?


Stevenson screen is an old term for a pleated wood enclosure that held weather instruments. The enclosure was painted white to reduce the effects of heating by solar radiation (which would affect the weather measurements) and the pleats allowed wind to flow through the enclosure to maintain close to ambient conditions.

The Stevenson screen was the standard enclosure for housing National Weather Service Instruments for many years, until aspirated shields came into use for temperature and humidity measurements.

You can see the traditional Stevenson screen at

and a slightly more modern one and history of the device at

David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory

A "Stevenson's screen" invented by the father of author Robert Louis Stevenson, is a louvered box to house thermometers and possibly other weather-measuring devices to protect them from "false" readings due to the direct impingement by sunlight and/or wind. If you "Google" search the term "Stevenson's screen" you will find many sites describing the designs and functions of these devices.

Vince Calder

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