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Govt. Schemes & Services :: NADP - 2007-08

NADP Projects Implemented by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

Year 2007-08


automatic weather station1
Contact address
Agro Climate Research Centre    
Centre For Soil and Crop Management Studies
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Coimbatore – 641 003
Telephone: 91-422-6611319 / 6611519 
Fax: 91-422-2430657
Email: meteorology@tnau.ac.in

1. Background

The monsoon dependent agriculture has greater seasonal rainfall variability, uncertainty and recurrent drought. If farmers are provided with weather information on real time basis without time lag there is possibility for risk management. This can be accomplished only by good network of observatories to the domain level of blocks with fast communication facilities. Installation of  Automatic Weather Station is the cheaper and best way of getting real-time weather data, which will help the scientists to develop location specific forecast for farm management decisions. This will enable local farmers to move from low productivity risk-aversion orientation approach to a tactical 'response' approach that optimizes production potential towards sustainability while also reducing their vulnerability to climate extremes.

Weather based crop insurance is a protection for losses that may arise due to abnormal weather conditions such as excess and shortfall in rainfall and wind speeds. Varsha Bima 2005, a rainfall based insurance scheme for farmers by the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited is based on the total quantity of rainfall of a season rather than the distribution which plays greater role in crop production. The insurance company makes payment based on a table for each degree of reduction in rainfall. Equal damage to crop can be expected by excess rainfall, which was not considered in the present scheme. Drought at critical stages of crop growth will also be detrimental to yield.

2. Project Rationale

Tamil Nadu having highly varying topography at present has only few IMD observatories (16) and the observations made by them are not readily available. The existing ISRO network having 45 AWS provided under PRAWNOM project, the weather variables recorded are general in nature and sensor related to agriculture weather variables are not provided. This project envisages use of real data for developing medium range forecast at block level, which could not be achieved without the present proposal. Under the present global warming scenario, the meso network data is requirement of the day for planning mitigation measures. To make the crop insurance to be effective we need a dense observation of rainfall for narrowing its temporal and spatial variability. The dense observation will also help in developing response farming practices.

3. Project Strategy

The weather data required has to reach a central point on real time basis for assimilation and to ingest in to meso-scale weather models for developing block level forecast. This could be accomplished only by installing Automatic Weather Station (AWS) with GSM or CDMA due to high recurring cost involved in satellite linkages. The AWS will be fixed in all blocks of nine priority districts and each five in other districts. To narrow down spatial and temporal variability in rainfall each village of Dindigal district will be installed with automatic raingauges to develop rainfall distribution Index for crop insurance and for evolving response farming practices. To assimilate the weather data and for running forecast model, a receiver for receiving data, hardware, software and server room with good bandwidth connection are required.

4. Project Goals

  1. To establish AWS network at block level for dense weather observation
  2. To gather data on real time basis with mobile technology for generating medium range agricultural forecast
  3. To install raingauges in selected villages for narrowing down spatial and temporal variability of rainfall for crop insurance and for response farming
  4. To create database for understanding global warming and for proposing Climate Change mitigation policies

5. Project implementation

 The project was approved by Government of Tamil Nadu as per GO Ms. No. 84 dated 03.03.2008 with an outlay of Rupees 1690 lakhs. This project is proposed to provide medium range weather forecast at block level for farming decisions, denser observation of precipitation for crop insurance and creation of meso weather network for observing global warming and climate change trends. This programme envisages establishing AWS network in 129 blocks of 9 focused districts viz. Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Dindugal, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Permbalur (Ariyalur), Ramanathapuram, Salem and Vilupuram and 95 blocks in 19 other districts @ of 5 blocks each.

In each of the 224 blocks, the Department of Agriculture (DoA) will select an area of 40 m2 based on the guidelines issued by TNAU. Mobile linked AWS will be installed in these sites by TNAU. The weather data assimilated will be hosted in the server at TNAU and all the block level officers, District and State level officers will be given username and password for using the weather data on real time basis. The weather data will be ingested in to the meso scale weather forecast models (WRF) and block-wise medium range forecast for ensuing four days will be developed. The forecast products will be made available through TNAU Agriportal for the use of all block level officers. The computational facilities and technical assistance as required will be arranged by TNAU.

The block level officers will develop suitable weather based agro-advisories to the farmers of their block and pass on to the farmers through their field level functionaries as well as mass media. The TNAU will impart three days training to all the block level officers in developing the weather based agro advisories.

Activity milestones

automatic weather station2

6. Project Costs and Financing for 2007-08



Rs. (Lakhs)


AWS for 224 @ 6.75 lakhs with mobile-link inclusive of earth station, fencing etc.



GSM/CDMA charges @ 0.05/unit for 224 units



Automatic raingauges including masonry work for fixing (100@0.27 lakhs)



Technical assistance, traveling and other contingencies



Training DOA staff for developing agro advisories



Data assimilation and running models including technical assistance and accessories required for server room and 2Mbps MPLS internet connection



Hardware & software for server with remote assistance facility



Generator with UPS & accessories purchase & installation



Grand total


7. Reporting

The monthly progress report and annual report will be submitted by TNAU on the data received, models compiled and run for forecast products besides the installation progress of AWS and raingauges. Block level officers of DoA will submit the report to the respective officers on weather prevailed during the period and agro advisories issued to the farmers with a copy to TNAU for compilation. The final report will be submitted by TNAU after the closure of the project by the Government.

Operational guidelines for the NADP project on AWS

Sl. No

Component-wise activities

Impleme -nted by


  1. An area of 2 m2 is required for installing automatic rain gauges in 100 farm villages of Dindugal district. The block level staff of Dindugal district has to identify a cooperative farmer who is agreeing to provide space with good exposure condition and provide sufficient protection. An MOU to the effect need to be signed for providing such an arrangement with the farmer. The MOU should exist for period not less than five years.
  2. TNAU will arrange for purchase and installation of raingauges in the appropriate places selected by the DoA. The data transmitted on real time basis will be made available to all the concerned through the web site created for this purpose. After the season the data need to be analysed for developing Rainfall Distribution Index for aiding the insurance.






  1. An area of 40 m2 is required for installation of each of the 224 Automatic Weather Station (AWS) in all the blocks of priority districts (9) and 5 each in other 19 districts. The DoA staff has to select a site following the guidelines provided by TNAU separately for this purpose. (Annexure II). A co-operative farmer’s site shall be selected for installing the AWS after entering the MOU which should exist for period not less than fifteen years. The DoA staff shall monitor the upkeep and maintenance of AWS sites by farmers.
  2. TNAU staff will visit each of the location to finalise the site for exposure condition and for uniform distribution using GPS. Necessary tenders will be floated by TNAU to purchase AWS and installation in the selected site with required fencing. The repair and maintenance of the AWS will be taken care by TNAU with the help of suppliers of AWS through AMC.








The TNAU will establish required computational facilities at Coimbatore in the main campus for data storage and for block level forecast which includes purchase, installation, compiling models by technical assistance support provided in the project.



Using the data assimilated from the AWS the TNAU will develop block level medium range weather forecast using the regional forecast models and will be posted in the website for the use of block level DoA staff. The computer cluster purchased for this purpose will be used for running the forecast models



  1. Training will be imparted to block level extension officials of DoA by TNAU on developing weather based agro advisory using the medium range weather forecast.
  2. After acquiring the training the block level staff will develop suitable weather based agro advisories based on the forecasted weather taking in to consideration the crop stages. The same is expected to be passed on to the farmers by displaying the details in their office and communicating to the farmers through field staff and local mass media.




Guidelines for selection of site for installation of AWS

The site should be an agriculturally predominant area

  1. The selected farmer should be willing to execute an MOU  for providing the land at free of cost and maintain the site             weed free besides periodical cleaning of dusts.
  2. Suitable iron fencing will be provided for each of the AWS by the instrument supplier and hence the farmer should ensure the security and safety of the AWS.
  3. The site should be representative of climate, soils and agricultural (cropping) conditions of the area
  4. It should be free from water logging and easily accessible throughout the year
  5. It should be away from hills, buildings and trees to avoid shield or channel affects
  6. It should be away from steep slopes, water bodies and high tension electric lines and working engines because these will vitiate the observations
  7. The recommended distances of the obstacles from the raingauge and other instruments are at least twice and 10 times the height of the obstructions respectively.
  8. The selected site should be accessible for mobile coverage for data transfer.
  9. Care should be taken that different sites selected for AWS should have equidistance (aerial) in a district to             have uniform distribution for weather observation.

The DoA staff shall monitor the effective maintenance of AWS.


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