The wavelength, availability, range and power budget of an infrared free-space laser communication system critically depend on the atmospheric channel, which in turn is closely related to local weather conditions. As a result, the atmospheric propagation characteristics of the transmission medium must be taken into account from the beginning in the design of a free-space laser communication link. The most important linear effects that affect the attenuation of laser beam propagation through the atmosphere are absorption, scattering and turbulence. Weather parameters such as humidity, temperature and visibility are essential in determining the performance of a free-space laser communication system. Based on weather data recorded in Buenos Aires city (Argentina) at every hour during two years and made available to us by the Servicio Meteorologico Nacional (National Meteorological Service of the Argentinean Air Force), we calculate attenuation of laser radiation for an horizontal transmission path of 1 km for a near infrared direct detection optical communication system. Then, with these results, we estimate link availability and draw conclusions about when it is more convenient to transfer information.