Peñalara Natural Park Meteorological Network 1998-2014


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Mountains are of crucial importance for many environmental, scientific social and economical reasons. From a climatic point of view, they play a fundamental role in the climate system and are unique areas for the detection of climate change. Despite the importance of mountains, meteorological observations at these areas are scarce and lacking of good quality. Remoteness, extreme environmental conditions and difficulties of having powerful energy sources and good communications are the main reasons for this.

Peñalara Natural Park (Central System, Spain) has been object of numerous scientific programs under a wide spectrum of disciplines. Most of these programs require a scientific quality meteorological. Due to the complexity of the terrain it is necessary to conduct in situ measurements with a high density of sites in order to have representative data series.


The main objective of this project is to set up a hydro-meteorological network in the Guadarrama Mountains with scientific quality and equiped with mountain specific sensors.


Considering the main objective is to have reliable and long meteorological observations, the following measuring strategy has been defined:

  • The network is based on automatic measurements. Some manual observations are performed for calibration and quality control at a small number of sites.
  • Five sites are considered enough taking into account the size and complexity of the area. The final distribution make an average of one site per 250 m of altitude.
  • Regarding the sitting criteria, recommendations from the World Meteorological Organizations (WMO, 2008) are followed when possible, maximizing the representativity and minimizing environmental impact of installations.

During the first years (1998) manual data downloading was performed. Nowadays TCP/IP protocol through the GPRS network is giving an excellent result considering the increasing volume of data. At present (2014) validated time series of the network are hosted in a PostgreSQL, Python, PHP platform. An integral system is now satisfying users from the scientific community to general public through a web page.

In order to guarantee the quality of the data, interMET has been operating a quality assurance / quality control program including preventive, evolving and corrective maintenance.

The network uses the next products:
  • Lambrecht rain gauge
  • Young Wind Monitor Alpine Version
  • Lycor pyranometer
  • Judd snow height sensor
  • Rotronic HC2-S3 air temperature and relative humidity sensor
  • Gantner data logger
  • Vaisala HMP45
  • NovaLynx rain gauge
  • E+E Electronic temperature y humidity probe
  • RNG anemometer and wind vane
  • Campbell Scientific CR200
and measures the next parameters:
  • Precipitation
  • air temperature
  • relative humidity
  • wind speed & direction
  • solar radiation
  • snow depth
  • underground temperature


After continuous evolutions, the network consists on five fully automatic meteorological stations plus other points for short campaigns and manual observation. Measurements have shown to be reliable and representative and data gap have been minimized. Due to the accumulated experience through the years, a considerable know-how on mountain meteorological observation has been acquired.

As a result of this long commitment, now there is a considerable amount of data sets used by many scientists and organizations encharged of the management and conservation of this little but precious area.