Rain Gauge Uses

Rain Gauge Uses thumbnail
A rain gauge measures rainfall in a given time period.

Rain gauges are used for measuring the amount of rainfall over a specified period of time. Trying to measure rainfall is not a new thing at all. As far back as 3000 years ago ancient Chinese records demonstrate the Chou Dynasty's interest in recording rainfall measurements. There are records in India of rainfall data measured in 400 B.C.


Christopher Wren is the inventor credited with creating the first modern rain gauge in 1662. However, Reverend Horsley's invention in 1722 was the one that was adopted and used for many years.

  1. Ancient Uses

    • King Munjong of Korea invented a rain gauge in the 15th century. Each village was provided with a rain gauge so that the potential harvest could be measured and the amount of taxes could be calculated based on the rainfall the area received, which predicted the amount of produce that would be harvested. The idea behind the rain gauge has always been to measure the amount of rainfall over a certain period.

    Precipitation

    • A rain gauge consists of a measuring tube, a funnel and an outer cylinder. The tube is calibrated to measure to 100th of an inch and if it is full then it contains an inch of rain. In the event of more than an inch of rain falling, the excess water flows into the outer cylinder. In order to measure the total rainfall, the excess must be poured into the measuring tube. Scientists use rain gauges to measure the amount of rainfall in a single event, like a major storm, or over a period of time. They can then use these records to compare the rainfall recorded in the past over a similar amount of time. The data can then be used to predict how the rainfall might affect things like harvest and flooding.

    Measuring Snowfall

    • With added steps, a rain gauge can also measure snowfall. Place the rain gauge in an open area where it can collect snowfall directly without any obstructions. Once you're done collecting, bring the gauge indoors and allow the warmth to turn the snow to liquid. By allowing the snow to melt you can then measure the liquid equivalent of snow.

    Gardening

    • A rain gauge can be an incredibly useful for managing your garden and lawn watering. Both drought and over-watering can have a negative impact on plants. Besides wasting time, water and money, overwatering can increase a plant's vulnerability to disease and make it more likely that chemicals used in the garden enter storm water drainage systems, adding to pollution. Using a rain gauge allows you to know exactly how much rain your garden is getting and can also be used to measure mist and heavy dew. In this way you can figure out how much water has been naturally supplied to your garden and you should then provide only the water required to make up the difference.

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References

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

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