Rain gauges and disdrometers
10 Mar 2011



Rainfall measurements are made with a variety of raingauges.

The range of raingauges at Chilbolton Observatory includes:

  • RAL Rapid Response Drop Counting rain gauges
  • a Distromet RD-80 Impact Disdrometer
  • a RW Munro 0.2mm Tipping Bucket rain gauge

To see daily results from the raingauges and to find out more about the meteorological suite at Chilbolton, visit the Chilbolton weather web.

The rapid response drop counting rain gauges used have been designed and built at RAL. The technique they use of counting accurately formed drops provides a much higher resolution than the tipping-bucket type gauge, particularly in light rain.

Distromet Joss Waldvogel RD-80 Impact Disdrometers are installed at Chilbolton and Sparsholt and work by converting the vertical momentum of a falling drop into signals whose amplitude depends on the diameter of the impacting drop. A conical styrofoam body is used to transmit the mechanical impulse of an impacting drop to a set of two moving coil systems in magnetic fields. They measure drop sizes in 127 size bins from 0.3 to 5.0 mm.

The Chilbolton disdrometers provide an essential link between actual size measurements of rain drops and the drop size information derived from the 3 GHz CAMRa radar.

Data from the raingauges can be accessed at the British Atmospheric Data Centre.

Technical specifications of the raingauges

Technical specifications of the disdrometers

Contact: Hooper, David (STFC,RAL,RALSP)