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Automatic Weather Station (AWS)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Context: Recently, an automatic weather station (AWS) in Mungeshpur, Delhi, recorded a temperature of 52.9°C, which quickly made headlines. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) discovered that this reading was 3°C higher than the actual temperature due to a faulty sensor.


What is AWS?

An Automated Weather Station (AWS) is a meteorological station that transmits observations automatically. It uses four main sensors: wind, temperature/humidity, pressure, and rainfall. Air temperature is measured in degrees Celsius using an electrical resistance thermometer, which operates on the principle that electrical resistance varies with temperature changes.

Challenges with AWS: AWS accuracy becomes unreliable beyond certain temperature thresholds. Issues include improper calibration, incorrect placement on concrete structures, and lack of regular maintenance.

Other Heat Measuring Devices: High temperatures can be measured using a thermometer in a Stevenson Screen, a wooden enclosure that protects instruments from precipitation and direct heat radiation while allowing air circulation.

About India Meteorological Department (IMD): Established in 1875, IMD is the principal government agency for meteorology and related subjects. It is one of six Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Headquarters are in New Delhi, with six regional meteorological centres.

Source: DH