99 state-of-the-art weather forecast systems to be installed throughout the country
Alka Katwal from Paro

The data collected from the automated weather forecasts will facilitate enhanced early warning for vulnerable communities, monitor the impact of climate change and will serve farmers and communities with the information they need to plan their crop cycle

With the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility, through the National Adaptation Program of Actions (NAPA) II project, 99 state-of-the-art weather forecast and warning systems will be installed across the country by November, which will resolve challenges faced by farmers due to climate change.
While more than half of the Bhutanese population depends on agriculture to earn their living, one of the biggest challenges faced by Bhutanese farmers today is coping with climate change. Untimely rainfall, changes in the weather pattern, new pests and diseases are a few of the occurrences that take place due to climate change.
With the arrival of a modern automated weather forecast and warning system, Bhutanese farmers will be able to better plan their agricultural cycles, maximizing their yield and minimizing climate-induced crop damage, which will strengthen their livelihoods and opportunities.
“Because of Bhutan’s different exposures of valleys and gorges to the sun and climatic activity, local climate tends to vary dramatically over short distances (micro-climates). More so, with climate change increasingly altering the predictability and patterns of rainfall, the availability of more accurate and localized climate data is important for Bhutan’s agricultural production (69 % of the population depends on it) and disaster preparedness and response,” said the Climate Change Policy Specialist of UNDP Bhutan, Ugyen Dorji.
“The local stations will feed data to the station based here at the Department of Hydro-Met Services, which will then process the data for targeted interventions,” he said.
The existing hydro-met network in Bhutan is limited, consisting of 26 river gauging stations, 90 meteorological stations, and 15 flood warning stations, many of which were established some 20 years back when technology was comparatively restricted.
Of these, only 10 of the river gauging stations and 13 of the meteorological stations are automatic stations. The network was also originally developed to meet the needs of hydropower and does not take account of local climates in a way that would be necessary to benefit farmers.
The 99 state-of-the-art weather stations will be able to generate real-time hydro-met data linked with the World Metrological Organization’s Global Telecommunication System.
This data will facilitate the enhanced early warning for vulnerable communities, monitoring the impact of climate change on high altitude snow coverage essential for Bhutan’s ecosystems and economic development, and will serve farmers and communities alike with the information they need to plan their crop cycle.
The NAPA II project builds on earlier UNDP-GEF projects supporting community resilience. The NAPA I project focused on reducing the risk from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF).