Automatic Weather Stations

ENTRY DATE: 03.05.2015 | LAST UPDATE: 03.05.2015


  • Disaster Prevention
  • Observation systems, information dissemination


Applicable immediately, ongoing research and development 

Technology Owners:

  • Governments
  • Private companies

Needs Address

  • Availability of climate information at the community level
  • Better linkages for facilitating response process
  • Better linkages of supplier of climate information

Adaptation effects

  • Increase the number and reliability of surface observations of weather
  • Indicate the onset of climate related disaster events
  • Information can be directly transferred onto an accessible system that communicates weather changes to communities, enabling their response 

Overview and Features

Outdoor weather sensors measure weather elements such as air temperature, humidity, wind direction, wind speed, air pressure, and rainfall.  These sensors can transmit recordings automatically to a central indoor computer, which stores and shares the data. Data measurements are made at predetermined intervals as necessitated by the user requirements. Data can be recorded on site or be transmitted in real-time.


  • Capital costs for automated weather stations, new modems, computer platforms and software to access and display precipitation data from radar, a dedicated forecaster workstation system, and training staff at forecast centres are estimated at USD 18,477 per automated station (World Bank, 2013)
  • Annual costs for annual support for the dedicated forecaster workstation are estimated at USD 1,339 per automated station (World Bank, 2013)
  • In Cambodia, the estimated costs for installing 24 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and providing the necessary training were estimated at USD 6,309,590 (UNISDR,
  • Communication costs can be reduced by basing data collected from the Automatic Weather Stations on a GPRS system 

Energy source

Electricity for operation of the equipment

Ease of maintenance

  • Ongoing, routine maintenance required, which can be costly.
  • It should include maintenance of equipment and training for technicians, specialists and operators as well as   information users 

Technology performance

  • The area representation is limited to around 3-5 km per station
  • These systems have been proven to provide more accurate, beneficial and round-the-clock data than previous forecasting systems which can enable better disaster preparedness
  • Enables data collection in harsh climates
  • Well suited for use in remote places without electricity


  • Knowledge and funds needed for installation
  • Sensors must be installed at the appropriate location to gather the data required
  • Consideration should be made as to the type of data required 

Co-benefit, suitability for developing countries

  • Collates and archives a history of valuable meteorological information
  • Could be operated at the community level provided proper training is given
  • Sufficient and ongoing funding is required

Information Resources

Chun-Kit, H.O., Ying-Wa, C. and Kwong-Hung, T. n.d. Community weather observations: development, applications and benefits. Available at: [09 December 2014]

WMO, n.d. Use and Implementation of the Automatic Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) in all Climate Weather and Conditions. Available at: [09 December 2014]

World Bank, 2013. Looking Beyond the Horizon: How Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Responses Will Reshape Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. [19 March 2015]

UNISDR, 2013. Strengthening hydro-meteorological services in Southeast Asia. Available at: [19 March 2015]