Brock, Fred V. Department of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
Doviak, Richard J. National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Norman, Oklahoma.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Wind effects
- Accuracy and resolution
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Instruments used to measure the amount of rain or snow that falls on a level surface. Such measurements are made with instruments known as precipitation gages. A precipitation gage can be as simple as an open container on the ground to collect rain, snow and hail; it is usually more complex, however, because of the need to avoid wind effects, enhance accuracy and resolution and make a measurement representative of a large area. Precipitation is measured as the depth to which a flat horizontal surface would have been covered per unit time if no water were lost by runoff, evaporation, or percolation. Depth is expressed in inches or millimeters, typically per day. The unit of time is often understood and not stated explicitly. Snow and hail are converted to equivalent depth of liquid water.
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