Instrumentation and Measurement of Surface Precipitation

Instrumentation and Measurement of Surface Precipitation

This lesson offers a comprehensive overview of precipitation measurement at the Earth’s surface. The lesson begins by defining precipitation and why it is an important property to characterize. It then provides details about the properties and characteristics of gauges that measure precipitation. Precipitation gauges are divided into catchment-type gauges and disdrometers, which count individual drops. The effects of wind on precipitation measurement are discussed along with a comparison of several different wind shields. The special challenges of measuring snow are discussed along with the instruments and methods used to measure it and its water equivalent. The lesson concludes with a discussion of the characteristics and importance of proper siting.

The lesson is part of the Instrumentation and Measurement of Atmospheric Parameters course series. It is intended primarily for undergraduate and graduate students seeking to expand their familiarity with atmospheric instrumentation. Some previous knowledge of atmospheric science and mathematics will prove useful.