A rain gauge can be described as a device used mainly by hydrologists and meteorologists to measure and record the amount of precipitation over an open area in a defined region over a specified period. Thus, it is primarily used for measuring the rainfall level over a specified area and so indirectly measuring rainfall quantity over a measurable unit area. The primary mechanism used here is to collect data points collected at regular intervals over the area covered by the sensor. The data gathered from this instrument can be processed very quickly with the help of some computer software; the collected information can then be displayed as a rainfall gauge over a chosen area or region.
A rain gauge can either be manual or automatic. Manual rain gauges are usually preferred over the automatic type as the former requires a person to monitor the instrument continuously and manually record the rainfall measurement. It makes it a little challenging to use and does not allow the user to make consistent measurements over a long period. Therefore, most of the rain gauges available in the market today come with an automatic option built-in. This automatic option takes care of all the manual work, making it much more reliable and practical to use.
The most commonly used device is called the standard rain gauge. This relatively simple device measures the precipitation level over a short period by gathering data points at regular intervals. The vertical gauge can measure wind speed in either a horizontal direction or vertical. Horizontal direction requires professionals to mount the device, while vertical requires a professional to move it to get the required readings. Measuring precipitation levels requires a person to stay outdoors and therefore is not feasible during some parts of the year.
Another type of rain gauge instrument is the cylinder rain gauge. In this device, the cylinder is placed at ground level and filled with water fill the cylinder. When rain falls inside the cylinder, the weight of the raindrops creates a constant weight. Meteorologists typically use rain gauges in this type to estimate the precipitation levels.
Wind-based rain gauges are commonly used in measuring wind speed in different regions. This type does not require any specialised installation because it is generally meant for outdoor use. The user has to place it in an area with sufficient breeze to enable the device to gather data. It is mainly found near power lines.
Another popular device is called the rain gauge funnel. The principle of this instrument is straightforward. It uses a funnel made of a narrow tube to drop measuring cups from above into a bowl collected along the tube. By observation, a person can determine the rainfall depth. In addition, a measurement reading is often taken using this type of measurement instrument.
You do not need any special equipment or skills to use a rain gauge. However, you should be able to read and interpret the measurement results given. Different types of gauges come in different sizes, so it is essential to know the measurement scale you are working on. These measurement devices range from tiny pieces measuring just 8 inches to much larger devices measuring hundreds of feet.