Options for Rainfall Measurements

By on August 16, 2010

The Importance of Rainfall

Rainfall is a crucial component in the water cycle and is needed to replenish surface and ground waters. The amount and duration of precipitation events affect both water level and water quality.

Rainfall supplies freshwater, which is an important source of dissolved oxygen and nutrients. Droughts lower the freshwater input to estuaries and the water levels of inland lakes. Lake levels influence water drainage and circulation patterns in freshwater estuaries. Given the significant impact precipitation has on water resources, rainfall measurements are vital for many hydrological and hydromet applications.

How to Obtain Rainfall Measurements

One of the most common sensors used for measuring rainfall is a tipping bucket rain gauge, such as the RM Young 52203, which essentially uses two small “buckets” that collect rain one at a time. When the first is full, it tips and dumps the water out while the second bucket takes its place. Every time the buckets tip and change places, they trigger an electronic switch.

Electronic data logging units can then record the number of times the switch is triggered and use this information, along with knowledge of the size of the “buckets,” to calculate the rainfall amount and duration. Visit the Tipping Bucket Rain Gauges page to learn more.

Alternatively, a multi-parameter weather monitoring sensor, such as the Vaisala WXT520, can provide additional context to rainfall information. This unit complements rainfall measurements with five other weather parameters: wind speed and direction, relative humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure.

Fondriest Environmental can incorporate these precipitation sensors and other weather sensors into a complete weather monitoring system, which includes sensors, data logging equipment, a number of real-time telemetry options, and data acquisition and processing software. To learn more, see Configuring a Weather Monitoring System. Or to speak with a Fondriest Environmental application engineer today call 888.426.2151 or email customercare@fondriest.com.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/2371785422/

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