Removing the relocation bias from the 155-year Haparanda temperature record in Northern Europe

The analysis of past and current climate variability and trends requires long-term, high quality instrumental meteorological datasets. In this paper we present an empirical approach to estimate and remove relocation biases from one of the longest temperature datasets in the Nordic region, the 155-year record from the village of Haparanda, Sweden. The correction is based on parallel measurements to identify the spatial field air temperature variations within this village over a 2 year period.


The village Haparanda in northern Sweden hosts one of the longest meteorological station records in Europe depicting climate conditions in the subarctic. Since the station was relocated several times, moving gradually from urbanized to more rural areas, the record is likely biased by anthropogenic influences. We here assess these influences and demonstrate that even in villages urban heat island biases might affect the temperature readings. We detail a method to quantify this bias and remove it from the long Haparanda station record running since 1859.

The correction is based on parallel temperature measurements at previous station locations in Haparanda. These measurements revealed a distinct urban warming pattern, largest in minimum temperatures during summer, since urban geometry and its heat capacity amplify additional warming and night-time heat release, especially during a period of high insolation and calm conditions. Due to the station movement from the village centre to the outskirts, the net correction results in an additional warming trend over the past 155 years.

The trend increase is most substantial for minimum temperatures (+0.03 ∘C10years−1). Maximum and mean temperatures are less affected (+0.01 ∘C10years−1). An increase in trend is even more severe if the 20th century is regarded exclusively, displaying a rise in annual mean temperature trend by +0.03 ∘C10 years−1 and +0.07 ∘C 10 years−1 in annual minimum temperatures, respectively.Our approach of using actual temperature differences between historical station locations did not take into account other factors that might have influenced the data such as changes in instruments or observers.

The presented adjustment for temperature residuals caused by a change in historical station locations might be considered as a minimum approach to improve long-term temperature readings. The adjustment of the Haparanda station record results in an increased warming trend, thereby adding critical information to the evaluation and explanation of 20th century anthropogenic warming.

Coworkers: Jenny Lindén

Year: 2018.0

Report number: A2318

Authors: Jenny Lindén, Jan Esper Manuel Dienst

Published in: International Journal of Climatology, 37(11) doi: 10.1002/joc.4981