Rain Fall Measurement

Rain fall measurement or precipitation as it is also known is the way in which we calculate how much rain has fallen. There is various ways in which we can do this depending on many factors. But first we need to ask why do we need to measure how much rain has fallen?

We have been measuring how much rain falls for centuries, but now it becomes an important study to observe how the climate is changing, and because the earth is warming up, our reservoir are drying up, and thus our water shortages. Local weather stations can also keep a record of the data, to see how it effects our river and streams.

Another important field where precipitation is measured is for agricultural needs. Any growing plant needs water to survive, so rainfall is crucial to its survival, but in another respect, to much rainfall can damage crops and other farming products.

There is many ways in which we can measure how much rain we get and I will describe a few here. The most typical and most used is the rain gauge. This is basically a container that holds the water, so that you cam measure it. There is many different kinds of gauges, so I will take a look at these now.

Standard Rain Gauge

This gauge is the most commonly used which catches the rain and once the inside graduated cylinder fills up, the outer larger container catches the excess.

Weighing Precipitation Gauge
With this type of device, the rain is weighed to record the mass which is done by having a pen on a rotating drum, or a vibrating wire. these types of gauges tend to be more expensive but more exact in collecting there data.

Tipping Bucket rain Gauge
This rain gauge collects the water by way of a funnel, that channels the water in a see saw motion in to a container. Once a certain amount of rain has fallen in to the container, it is tipped in to the main drum, so then a signal records once it has tipped.

These are your typical types of rain gauges that record the precipitation but with the advances in technology, you can measure rainfall with more sophisticated items. for example you can now use software that is connected to your computer, and get actual live data of the rain fall in your area, or even in your own back garden. This weather station software is very accurate, and more and more people are using them, from the complete novice, to the amateur meteorologist, to the local weather station.

Your local weather station will use some kind of computer related software to measure the data of rainfall, but typically they will also take reading for wind speed, wind direction, humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure.

It is important to just take a moment and think about how much water we use in our daily life, and think about the environment, and because of these global changes, we need to try and save a little water when we go about our daily life. For example showering saves a lot of water compared to having a bath, and using a water can in your garden as opposed to a hosepipe, will save a lot more water.

Meteorological Station

A Meteorological Station or weather station as it is also known, is a place where data is gathered to monitor weather conditions. This facility could be on land or at sea, measuring the atmospheric conditions to study climate and weather.

Typical measurements that would be taken include wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. When measuring temperature and humidity, the observation is kept away from direct sunlight. When measuring, the instruments will bear the full force of the wind to gain readings.
Observing the weather will be done automatically and manually, automatically probably every hour, and manual observations once a day. For measuring data out at sea, ships and buoys will be used. but they will typically measure wave height, sea temperatures and much more.

A weather station will use most of these instruments to measure there data.
  • Rain gauge: This will measure liquid precipitation over a period of time.
  • Hygrometer:  This instrument is used for measuring humidity
  • Anemometer: Wind speed is calculated with this device.
  • Barometer: For measuring atmospheric pressure.
  • Thermometer: This measures land ans sea temperature.
You also may have a smaller version of a station that is set up at an airport, to monitor things such as,
  • Ceiling projector: This measures the cloud ceiling
  • Disdrometer: Measuring drop size distribution
  • Transmissometer: This checks visibility
  • A sensor for present conditions for rain fall

You also have advanced or professional weather stations that use the same instruments above, but might also include, solar radiation sensors, snow gauge, leaf wetness sensors, soil temperature sensor, and ultra violet light sensors. Another instrument they might use is a probe that measures evapotranspiration  which is very useful for the agricultural industry.

Meteorological stations can be set up two ways, either wireless or wired. They both have advantages, and disadvantages, so its important to do your homework if you are thinking about buying one.

Apart from the rain gauge and the anemometer (these two instruments need to be out in the elements) the rest should be enclosed in what is called a Stevenson Screen, which it a type of vented box. This is to stop direct sunlight and wind to affect the instruments

If you have an interest in the weather for personal information it is possible now to have your own personal weather station. there is hundreds of products out there today on the market, for every ones specific needs.
You can now have all the data connected to your home pc, or laptop, this is how advanced these systems are now, and collecting data can be sent to different groups, or organisations through the internet. Another source of transmitting data to fellow meteorologists is by way of cb radio.

Because weather is part of our daily routine, it is not surprising that major weather stations have been setup in a network all over the world. These networks will monitor pressure systems and weather fronts. You can find and read about all the different networks around the world.

Auriol Weather Station

The Auriol weather station or temperature station as it is also known, is a digital thermometer for measuring temperature indoors and out. It has a really nice looking interface, which is easy to use. It comes with many features which I will outline here.

On the actual display itself it has several features.
  • Outdoor temp display in Celsius or Fahrenheit
  • A maximum and minimum temperature values for outside.
  • A temperature trend display
  • Reception indicator/bar
  • Battery power bar for outdoor sensor.
  • Indoor temp display in Celsius or Fahrenheit
  • A maximum and minimum temperature values for inside.
  • Temperature trend display
  • Battery power display for temperature station 
  • Shows the time in 12 hour or 24 hour mode, hours and minutes displayed and a snooze feature.
  • It has two different alarms, a time signal indicator, seconds display and summer time reading.
  • It also shows the date with the day, month and day of the week.
The weather station is an updated version of your regular thermometer, as we progress in life technology gets better and better. Our first weather stations were the old thermometers, that used the mercury in the glass tube, but with the advancement of science, we come to gadgets like this Auriol weather station.

They are great to use, really cheap to buy in this day when gadgets are getting smaller and smaller.
Because its a digital product, they tend to be a lot more accurate than the old types of thermometers. In the old days if you wanted to read the temperature, it could take a while for the mercury to rise up and down the tube, but with a digital device the readings are instant.

This device can be really useful in the winter, for example if the temperature starts to drop you can check your station, and plan ahead. You could put your car in the garage, if you notice the temperature dropping, or you could put some salt down on your drive in anticipation of the coming ice. If you are elderly then you will know that it will most probably be very icy in the morning, so you should take care.

Have you watched the weather on your television or read the forecast on your computer, but it never really gives you exactly what's happening outside your door. This could be because the actual weather station could be miles away from where you actually live, so it can never give an exact reading of your temperature right outside your house.

With this little gadget you can get instant readings inside and outside your house, and if it gets to warm inside, you can easily adjust your heating and conserve energy. The beauty of this station also is the fact that it is a wireless device, so you can take it out to your garden, and get a true reading away from your house, because the range is 30 metres

If you are interested in the weather and devices like the weather station you can start upgrading and buying many different products. There is a whole world of different products to monitor the weather, for the beginner up to the experienced person. You can start of with thermometers, but maybe you would like to monitor rain fall, this is where you can look at rain gauges.

For the more advanced you can get complete weather stations which you can add all the information on to your computer, these are called weather station software, and they monitor everything from rainfall, to temperature, to humidity.

On a final note, the Auriol weather station is a good little product that might get you interested to look at other products in the weather range, if that is what you intend to do.