Instrument : Rain Gauge (RAIN)

Instrument Categories
Surface Meteorology

General Overview

One of the tipping bucket rain gauges at the Southern Great Plains facility.A rain gauge (RAIN) is an instrument that gathers and measures the amount of liquid precipitation over a set period of time. ARM uses two types of rain gauges at their climate research facilities.

The tipping bucket rain gauge consists of a funnel that collects and directs precipitation into a seesaw container that tips after a pre-set amount of liquid. When the seesaw tips, it sends an electrical signal that is counted by a recording device. There are no tipping bucket rain gauges currently installed in the Southern Great Plains. However, there are active tipping bucket rain gauges in the Tropical Western Pacific and the North Slope of Alaska climate facilities.

The weighing precipitation gauge consists of a storage container, which is weighted to record the mass of precipitation. Some models measure the mass of precipitation using a pen on a rotating drum or by using a vibrating wire attached to a data logger. The advantage of this type of rain gauge is that it can measure all forms of precipitation. This rain gauge it currently installed at the Southern Great Plains, Tropical Western Pacific, and Eastern North Atlantic sites.

In 2006, two disdrometers were installed at the Southern Great Plains and Tropical Western Pacific facilities to add details about the precipitation being gathered. The disdrometers are capable of measuring the velocity and size distribution of precipitation. These measurements are important to studying the evolution of water droplets.

Output Datastreams

  • rain : Rain gauge
  • raintb : Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge data
  • rainwb : Weighing Bucket Rain Gauge

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


Eastern North Atlantic
ENAC1 Browse DataGraciosa Island, Azores, Portugal
Southern Great Plains
SGPC1 Browse DataCentral Facility, Lamont, OK
Tropical Western Pacific
TWPC3 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Darwin, Australia retired
ARM Mobile Facility
ASIM1 Browse DataAscension Island, South Atlantic Ocean; AMF1
 retired = Originating instrument has been retired at this location


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

Jenni Kyrouac
Argonne National Laboratory