Which instrument is used to measure rainfall?

Rainfall has always been an important part of human daily life. Without it, neither flock nor crops would survive. Rain is essential for agriculture and thus – for humans, especially those living in dry areas, where water is hard to get. And our ancestors knew it. First, known rainfall records come from 500 B.C. and were created by the Ancient Greeks! Some suggest that it may be the oldest meteorological device invented by man. Of course, since then the methods of the rainfall measuring has improved significantly, becoming more precise and accurate.


Instrument to measure rainfall is called rain gauge

Rain gauge (also called pluviometer, ombrometer or udometer) is an weather instrument used to gather data about the amount of rainfall. Typical rain gauge consists of graduated cylinders and weighing gauges, allowing the measurement of the amount of water in millimetres in height collected on each square meter. Before rain gauges had to be read manually, however nowadays automated weather stations took over that chore. To work as intended, the rain gauge has to be placed in the open area, so that no obstacles can prevent water from dropping into the cylinder and that no additional water (for example collected on a rooftop) gets in.

Sadly, such simple device has, however, its limitations. Extreme wind occurring during a hurricane can make collecting data extremely hard, as the results tend to be unreliable. Also, temperatures below zero can be a problem – snow and ice may block the funnel, blocking the way for the water.