Installing Automatic Weather Stations and Sensors for Local Monitoring in the Boom Gorge

The ISOC Kyrgyz Chapter team, in response to a request from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, has made a crucial advancement in natural disaster mitigation and management. From May 7 to May 17, 2023, the team installed two Lorawan-enabled meteostations and additional sensors in the Boom Gorge of the Kyrgyz Republic. This vital initiative aims to enhance the understanding and monitoring of the region’s distinct microclimate, providing key data to inform preemptive action and disaster management.

The Boom Gorge, marked by unique orographic features and a complex geological structure, has historically grappled with the impacts of heavy rainfalls. These intense precipitations often trigger powerful mudflows, draining from side valleys onto railroads and roads, causing significant infrastructural damage and posing public safety risks. Given the challenges posed by climate change, obtaining accurate and reliable local environmental and meteorological data in this region is becoming increasingly crucial.

In a pioneering research project, the Internet Society Kyrgyzstan Chapter, in collaboration with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics and the Ministry of Emergency Situations, has been exploring the utility of data transmission using the LoRaWAN protocol in areas susceptible to hazardous natural processes and with limited cellular communications. As part of this research project, two automatic weather stations have been installed in the Boom Gorge, along with additional sensors at key locations: Kyz-Kuye and Kok-Moinok. These locations mark the entry and exit points of the gorge, respectively.

The primary aim of this project at these pilot sites is to monitor and evaluate key meteorological parameters, including precipitation, temperature, moisture, and soil temperature. By doing so, the researchers aim to deepen their understanding of these parameters’ influence on the formation of mudflows in the Boom Gorge.

This installation of automatic weather stations and additional sensors is expected to considerably enhance the accuracy and systematic assessment of meteorological parameters. The use of the LoRaWAN data protocol technology enables continuous monitoring, providing more accurate and up-to-date data while reducing connection operating costs. This invaluable data will underpin informed decisions about mudflow risks and mitigation strategies.

Moreover, the placement of these local weather stations and sensors will facilitate comprehensive studies on the influence of meteorological parameters on mudflow formation processes. In the future, the data collected will enable the Department for Monitoring and Forecasting Natural Disasters of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to determine the threshold values needed to build a high-quality temporal forecast of mudflow events in the Boom Gorge.

Through this blend of technology and scientific research, we aim to deepen our understanding of mudflow dynamics and develop effective measures to mitigate their adverse impacts on infrastructure and people’s lives. The ISOC Kyrgyz Chapter and the Department of Monitoring and Disaster Forecasting are proud to contribute to this vital research project, fostering a safer and more sustainable future for the region.

The Internet Society Foundation’s research grant program funds this pioneering project, with the implementation by the Internet Society Kyrgyz Chapter Public Association and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics.