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How To Measure Rainfall: The Best Ways To Collect Data

Rainfall is quite an interesting phenomenon of nature. In addition, the rainfall measurement often turns out to be a tricky experience as it varies significantly with time and space. 

Sometimes, the rain is quite heavy in one location while it is very light a few meters away.

So when it comes to the rain measurement, variability is the biggest problem. However, by using accurate rainfall measurement devices such as tipping bucket rain gauges (providing cumulative rainfall depth), disdrometers (for measuring size and velocity of falling drops), weather radars (for making rainfall maps), accuracy is improving. 

Want to know how to measure rainfall? Read about the rainfall measurement devices and the best ways to collect accurate and precise rainfall measurement data. Let’s get started. 

How Can We Measure The Amount Of Rain That Falls? 

One of the easiest ways to measure rainfall is to check out the rainfall depth during a given period. In simple words, we measure how many millimeters of rain fell in a particular place over one hour or one day.

The interesting part? You can quickly get a rough estimate of rainfall depth at your home.

How to measure Rainfall at Home? 

The two most common ways of measuring rainfall at home include:

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  1. Home Weather Station like the (Ambient Weather WS-2902C)
  2. Homemade Rain Gauge
  3. Traditional Rain Gauge.

Let’s discuss both of them in detail and know how they can help measure weather while staying at home. By installing a home weather station, you can keep yourself informed about the latest weather changes. 

The Ambient Weather WS-2902C WiFi Smart Weather Station is under $200 

  • Some features include; 
  • LCD color display 
  • Enhanced WiFi connectivity, 
  • Wireless All-in-One integrated sensor

It’s a popular choice for most people, which is evident from 7000+ positive reviews on Amazon.

Why is the installation of a Home Weather Station necessary? 

In various world regions, extreme weather changes often cause significant trouble for people, especially when they do not know about the latest weather conditions.

Consequently, the variability of weather from region to region makes it essential to have the most relevant information about the weather conditions of your locality.

For example, in various regions of Texas, the warming and cooling of the water in the Pacific Ocean along the equator dramatically influences the weather.

So we can say that it has become essential to keep yourself updated by collecting precise weather data as a result, you can proceed with preventive measures and ensure your safety.

Homemade Rain Gauge

When you do not have any device and want to get an idea of rainfall measurement, you can use a homemade Rain Gauge.
There are several creative ideas available online to make a homemade rain gauge.

Making a rain gauge is a fun project to introduce kids to weather and its impact on humans.
Follow this link for step-by-step instructions.

How To Measure Rainfall: The Best Ways To Collect Data

Traditional Rain Gauge

Traditional rain gauges are affordable and easy to deploy. Rain gauges in this category include funnel or open-ended gauges.
I recommend you check this article (Best Place to Install Rain Gauge) for considerations before installing.

Rain Gauge – An Accurate Rainfall Measurement Device

Professionals such as hydrologists rely on exact measurement tools such as udometer, pluviometer and, ombrometer instead of using homemade rain gauges.
There are many types of rain gauges available for the collection of precise rain data.

Types of Rain Gauges include:

● Graduated cylinders
● Weighing gauges
● Tipping bucket gauges
● Buried pit collectors
● Acoustic rain gauge
● Optical rain gauge

And many others.

All of these rain gauges are considered appropriate tools for the measurement of rainfall. However, each type has a different pricing structure, method of usage. In addition, advantages, and disadvantages in collection methods..

Let’s discuss some of the rain gauges to get an idea of how they can help you measure rain and get precise data.

Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge 

It is a professional tool for accurate rainfall measurement. It is just like the homemade rain gauge, but it has two buckets beneath the funnel. 

After one bucket fills by the rain, which means that 0.2 mm rain has fallen, the other bucket automatically comes under the funnel and starts tipping. In addition, the tipping bucket rain gauge measures the time for each tipping.

Furthermore, It gives the observer the knowledge of how much rain has fallen in a particular period. 

The U.S. Standard Rain Gauge 

It is a more accurate gauge than the tipping bucket rain gauge. More Information

Using a graduated cylinder, it measures the water level by measuring the height of water in the cylinder. 

Optical Rain Gauge

This gauge is of three essential components. 

  1. Funnels
  2. Phototransistor detector
  3. Laser diode  

When enough water is collected to make a single drop, it drops from the bottom, falling into the laser beam path. The sensor detects the flashes of lights that are recorded and transmitted. 

How Do We Measure The Size Of Raindrops?  

No matter how accurate rain gauges you use, it is almost impossible to measure the size of every raindrop through any rain gauge. 

However, suppose you are curious to know the size of the raindrops. In that case, more sensitive tools that accurately measure the thickness and other relevant data about drops of the rain. 

Designed to measure the raindrops’ size and collect relevant and precise data about the raindrops is known as a disdrometer. 


How To Measure Rainfall: The Best Ways To Collect Data

It’s composed of two parts. 

  • Transmitter 
  • Receiver

It works by using a beam of light. The transmitter generates the light beam, and the receiver receives all the light. When there is no rain, the receiver receives all of the light directly because there is no water droplet that can stop the light. On the other hand, when the rain falls, the raindrop causes hindrance and stops some light. If the drop is significant, the signal measured by the receiver will decrease more than with a smaller drop. 

Researchers have found that the average size of the raindrop is 3-4 mm from various experiments done using this device. However, some drops can be as large as 5 to 6 mm. 

From the above discussion, it is evident that all the given devices measure rainfall at the precise location. So they do not answer the question:

How to measure the overall rainfall in a particular region or locality? This problem also has a solution that is solved using a technique known as rainfall mapping. 

Doppler Weather Radar

Doppler weather radar gives precise information about the overall level of rainfall in the surrounding region. Meanwhile, the range of weather radar depends on the quality and type of radar you are using. Various countries use detailed radar equipment to provide people with accurate rainfall information. 

They are the devices used on a large scale to measure the rain and provide information about the variability. Consequently, they tend to solve all the problems associated with the rainfall variability and inaccuracy of other tools to measure the large area. 

doplar radar The Rain Gauge

So what is the best way to collect precise data about rain? 

Rainfall is a highly variable phenomenon. Scientists and researchers have tried their best to bring the best tools in front of the people for accurate rainfall measurement. 

All of the instruments and tools have their uses. For example, the rain gauges can only measure the rain falling on them. At the same time, a Home Weather Station is an excellent tool for predicting the weather while staying at home. It is an accurate tool for rain measurement, provided it’s connected with a strong internet connection. 

Weather radars provide detailed information about average rainfall and its variability on a large scale. 

Scientists are still working on more accurate ways of measuring rainfall. 

Feedback is always welcome.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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