Measurements from the first comparative study of climate over Amazonian tropical forest and an embedded deforested clearing are presented. Observations comprise a continuous 60-day run of data from mid-October to mid-December 1990, covering the end of the dry season and the beginning of the wet season. Mean hourly observations are calculated for the whole period; and for two 10-day periods, one in the dry season and one at the start of the wet season. Much greater variation in weather variables was observed at the clearing compared with over the forest. While the mean values of temperature and specific humidity deficit differed by less than 1°C and 1 g kg−1 respectively, their daily ranges at the clearing were twice those at the forest. Mean daily albedo of the forest was 13.1 per cent, agreeing well with other tropical forest measurements, and of the clearing was 16.3 per cent, somewhat lower than the values currently being used in GCMs. The surface energy balance was investigated and mean available energy calculated for each site. The significant difference in the daily pattern of net radiation between the sites was found to be at least as much due to differences in the longwave radiation balance as to differences in albedo. The diurnal pattern of net radiation therefore changed between dry and wet periods as the higher plant water stress experienced by clearing vegetation altered the daily temperature cycle.