Three Best Uses for a Rain Gauge

A simple rain gauge attached to a fence post on a rural farm.

The rain gauge is an instrument that is used to measure the amount of rainfall or precipitation over a particular period of time at a specific place. However, there are a couple of uses it serves and forms it may take, which are quite interesting. Here are some of these uses which you might consider keeping this tool for.

1. Measuring

Generally, as the name itself suggests, a rain gauge (or "pluviometer") is an instrument that is used as a form of measurement. Hence, the basic design of this tool does just that, measuring for the purpose of collecting data about falling precipitation. This is the most common use for a rain gauge and several different types have been developed for this purpose.

A tipping bucket rain gauge incorporates a large copper cylinder along with some levers, a funnel, and a recorder that is made up of a wheel and a pen. The levers are situated on a pivot point which is like a scale and whenever a certain amount of precipitation has been reached, the lever then tips and sends the signal to the recorder. Meanwhile, the pen moves either up or down as it records the lever movement together with the quantity of precipitation.

A more advanced version of this instrument is the optical rain gauge. This gauge is made up of a row of funnels, a laser diode, and a phototransistor detector. When there is enough water in the funnels to create a single drop, it falls down, passing through the laser beam. Thus, every time a water drop passes through the laser beam path, this will create a small flash which is detected by the phototransistor detector and recorded as data.

2. Weighing Precipitation

A special weighing rain gauge features a rotating drum, a pen, and a storage bin. The storage drum collects any form of precipitation while the pen positioned below the drum records its weight.

3. Studying the Weather

A rain gauge is a crucial instrument utilized in the study of the weather phenomenon as well. Meteorologists and hydrologists use these instruments so that they will be able to examine and then gauge the exact level of precipitation or rainfall following a particular time frame. Long term data can help scientists predict weather patterns and learn from any trends exhibited in their data.

These are the most common uses of several types of rain gauges. Overall, whatever kind of rain gauge you prefer to use, what you should keep in mind is the purpose you're using it for. This will determine the best kind of gauge for the topic you're using it to study.