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PAGASA Launches Automated Weather Station in the Philippines

The DOST-PAGASA, in line with its modernization program, is presently embarking on the establishment of Automatic Weather Stations (AWSs) nationwide. The establishment of AWSs in coordination with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The DOST-ASTI has developed various instruments such as AWS to assist DOST-PAGASA in weather monitoring and forecasting.

DOST-PAGASA, in addition to the Doppler Radar installation project, needs the AWSs to automate its ground stations in order to perform faster, more accurately and efficiently in the areas throughout the country which will primarily serve as early warning and monitoring devices for disaster mitigation.

The automation of data acquisition and transmission will decrease operational cost and minimize possibility of errors brought about by manual instruments. The DOST-PAGASA/AST AWS joint project will establish and maintain a nationwide environmental monitoring network and will continuously provide solutions for the mitigation of environment-related disasters.

The ASWs are equipped with sensors capable of measuring weather parameters, wind speed and direction, air temperature, air humidity, air pressure, rain amount, duration and intensity. A total of 80 AWSs is programmed to be installed in stations across the country. Some 43 AWSs have already been installed, and by August 2011, the remaining 37 AWSs are expected to be installed.

In addition to the AWSs, DOST-ASTI, in cooperation with DOST-PAGASA, has also developed an Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) to gather and record the amount of rainfall over a set period of time and automatically sends the data to the central based station on a pre-determined interval basis. The ARGs are equipped with DOST-ASTI-developed datalogger platform GSM Data Acquisition Terminal (GDAT) which serves as mini-computer that controls the functions and data communications of the stations. Out of the 100 ARGs to be deployed nationwide, 11 units are operational as of 25 June 2011. The installations of the remaining 89 ARG units will be completed by August 2011.

DOST-ASTI, in cooperation with the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), has also developed an Early Warning System for Tsunami (EWST) to be placed along the coastal regions to mitigate the disastrous effect of tsunamis through timely issuance of warning to affected and disaster risk areas nationwide. The EWSTs use an embedded system equipped with GSM module that upon receiving a call from DOST-PHIVOLCS will trigger a siren signalling the occurrence or coming tsunami. The EWST's advantage is the immediate notification of the imminent danger even to far coastal regions. The EWST can also be used to issue warnings in cases of lahar flow, typhoon flash floods and landslides. The EWSTs are also set to be deployed nationwide.

Another DOST-ASTI-designed/assembled device is the Water Level Monitoring Station (WLMS) which measures water depth through ultrasonic sensor technology. The WLMS data collected is sent via SMS and the interpreted data will be used by local authorities to forewarn residents in affected areas. The WLMS is being used to complement the Effective Flood Control Operation System (ERCOS) aimed at addressing recurrent flooding in Metro Manila. Some 50 WMLSs are expected to be deployed up to December 2011.

Soucre: PAGASA Weather

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