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Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) is a fully configurable airport weather system that provides continuous, real time information and reports on airport weather conditions. AWOS stations are mostly operated, maintained and controlled by aviation service providers.
Depending on the configuration, AWOS measure a combination of the following parameters:
Non-certified sensors may be attached to AWOS systems, but weather data derived from those sensors must be clearly identified as "advisory" in any voice messages and may not be included in any METAR observations.
AWOS systems disseminate weather data in a variety of ways:
Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) is another type of an automated weather station, mainly used in the United States. Although similar to AWOS in nature, it is more sophisticated and is designed to provide the necessary information to generate weather forecasts. It serves as the primary climatology observing network in the United States.
Whereas AWOS data typically includes ceiling and sky conditions, visibility, temperature, dew point, altimeter setting and wind speed, gusts and direction, ASOS can additionally provide the type and intensity of precipitation (rain, snow, freezing rain), and obstructions to visibility such as fog and haze. ASOS can also track wind shifts, peak winds, rapid pressure changes, and the amount of accumulated precipitation.
These systems generally report at hourly intervals, but in case the weather conditions change rapidly and cross specific thresholds, special observation reports are issued. Reports are typically monitored by Air Traffic Control towers and human observers can edit or augment the automated observations.
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