The complex computer models for numerical weather forecasting are based on the analysis of large amounts of meteorological observations. They mainly comprise observations near the surface of temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind and precipitation. These observations are performed worldwide in some thousands of weather stations (so called synoptic stations) where the measurements are all performed several times per day at the same time. Performing and distributing these observations makes part of the international obligations of each national meteorological service such as RMI.
The weather stations of RMI that make part of this network, were gradually automated over the past years. In consequence the measurements can be performed much more frequently and human errors are excluded. This will benefit our public service, which is in agreement with the vision of RMI.
In addition the weather stations are equipped with a number of sensors for additional measurements that are used for research in the field of climatology, hydrology and radiation.
The map shows the position of the actual automatic weather stations of RMI, along with the automatic weather stations that are planned for the coming years. It is also indicated in which area useful information can be deduced from weather radars in Belgium and in the surrounding countries.
A great deal of attention is paid to the construction of long time series that are used, among others, in climate studies. For these applications use is made of - besides the automatic weather stations - more than 200 manual stations where observers collect meteorological data for RMI, on regular time intervals. In all these networks continuity and quality of the measurements are essential; for that reason RMI pays considerable attention to these aspects.