Instrument : Impact Disdrometer (DISDROMETER)

Instrument Categories
Surface Meteorology

Picture of the Distromet disdrometer

General Overview

To improve the quantitative description of precipitation processes in climate models, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility has been collecting observations of the drop size spectra of rain events since early in 2006. Impact disdrometers were the initial choice due to their reliability, ease of maintenance, and relatively low cost. Each of the two units deployed was accompanied by a nearby tipping bucket. In 2010, the tipping buckets were replaced by weighing buckets rain gauges. Five video disdrometers were subsequently purchased and are described in ARM’s VDIS Handbook. As of April 2011, three of the weighing bucket instruments were deployed, one was to travel with the second ARM Mobile Facility, and the fifth was a spare. Two of the video disdrometers were deployed, a third was to be deployed later in the spring of 2011, one was to travel with the second ARM Mobile Facility, and the last was a spare.

Output Datastreams

  • disdrometer : Disdrometer: measures rain drop size distribution

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


Southern Great Plains
SGPC1 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Lamont, OK
Tropical Western Pacific
TWPC3 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Darwin, Australia retired
 retired = Originating instrument has been retired at this location


Mary Jane Bartholomew
Brookhaven National Laboratory
(631) 344-2444