Start Your Own Rainfall Study

March 30, 2015

Start Your Own Rainfall Study

April showers are upon us, and with this comes a fantastic new opportunity for weather watchers!

When people think of climate change, they often think of changes in temperature, not rainfall. Interestingly, these two parameters are closely linked, and changes in temperature can have a knock-on effect on both the frequency and intensity of rainfall.

Dr Lizzie Kendon, interviewed in Issue 29 of the MetOffice ‘Barometer’ publication, led a specialist study into how heavy rainfall may change in the future. Here we show you how you can create your very own study, helping you forecast change at home.

When interviewed, Lizzie noted that “convective storms are triggered when heat from the Earth’s surface combines with humidity in the atmosphere, which means they usually happen in the warmer months of summer. They last for just a short period of time and tend to be fairly localised.”

Setting up your own experiment will allow you to see whether there is an increase in the frequency or intensity of these convective storms, but given the short duration of these storms, hourly measurements are key to noticing changes. Unlike many rain gauges, the ClimeMET CM7088 Rain Gauge will display hourly as well as 24-hourly rainfall readings, making it ideal for this study.

What you will need:

Due to the localised nature of convective storms, a small garden is perfect for setting up your experiment.

All you need to do is position your ClimeMET rain gauge in an open area, and simply measure hourly rainfall during a storm and record the data. Look at how long the storm lasts, the total volume of rain collected, the hourly rainfall levels and how frequent the storms are (which will of course vary over the year).

As a variation on this study, you can also measure the rainfall at two different points in your garden and compare the readings to each other, as well as over time. For this, we recommend using a manual rain gauge.

What you will need:

Position the rain gauges at opposite ends of your garden, or one in open air and one under a tree. Although best practice normally recommends placing a rain gauge away from trees, including measurements taken under a tree will allow you to see changes in rainfall interception as part of your study as well.

This study is a fantastic introduction to convective storms for school-aged children or grandchildren, and is a great activity for the Easter holidays.




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