Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



2001 American Meteorological Society


The air temperature radiation shield is a key component in air temperature measurement in weather station networks; however, it is widely recognized that significant errors in the measured air temperature exist due to insufficient airflow past the air temperature sensor housed inside the shield. During the last several decades, the U.S. National Weather Service has employed a number of different shields in air temperature measurements. This paper focuses on the airflow characteristics inside air temperature shields including the Maximum–Minimum Temperature System (MMTS), the Gill shields, and the Cotton Region Shelter (CRS).

Average airspeed profiles and airflow efficiency inside the shields are investigated in this study under both windtable and field conditions using an omnidirectional hot-wire sensor. Results from the windtable measurements indicate that the average airspeeds inside the shields oscillated along the center line of the Gill and MMTS shields as the ‘‘windtable air’’ speed was changed from 1.03 to 2.62 m s􏰄1; the MMTS airflow efficiency demonstrated a nearly constant value, but the Gill’s airflow efficiency increased. A linear transfer equation between the airspeed measured at the normal operating position for the temperature sensor inside the shield and the ambient wind speed was found under field conditions for all three nonaspirated air temperature radiation shields (CRS, Gill, and MMTS). Results indicate that the naturally ventilated temperature radiation shields are unable to provide sufficient ventilation when the ambient wind speed is less than 5 m s 􏰄1 at the radiation shield height.