What is a Stevenson's Screen? How is the design
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
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.
Click here to return to the Weather Archives
Update: June 2012