Also known as an udometer or pluviometer or ombrometer, or just plan old ‘rain cup’, this device will let you know how much water came down from the skies. Folks in India used bowls to record rainfall and used to estimate how many crops they would grow and thus how much tax to collect!
These devices reports in “millimeters of rain” or “”centimeters of rain” or even inches of rain”. Sometimes a weather station will collect the rain and send in a sample for testing levels of pollutants.
While collecting rain may seem simple and straightforward, it does have its challenges! Imagine trying to collect rainfall in high wind areas, like during a hurricane. There are other problems, like trying to detect tiny amounts of rainfall, which either stick to the side of the container or evaporate before they can be read on the instrument. And what happens if it rains and then the temperature drops below freezing, before you’ve had a chance to read your gauge? Rain gauges can also get clogged by snow, leaves, and bugs, not to mention used as a water source for birds.
So what’s a scientist to do?
Press onward, like all great scientists! And invent a type of rain gauge that will work for your area. We’re going to make a standard cylinder-type rain gauge, but I am sure you can figure out how to modify it into a weighing precipitation type (where you weigh the amount in the bottle instead of reading a scale on the side), or a tipping bucket type (where a funnel channels the rain to a see-saw that tips when it gets full with a set amount of water) , or even a buried-pit bucket (to keep the animals out).
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