If we divide the word we find that it is made up of two parts pluvio and meter , knowing that pluvio is an adjective that acquires rain, and meter referring to its measurement, joining the two parts the final product is the rain gauge .

What is a rain gauge?

rain gauge is an artifact that is used in meteorological stations to help measure and collect the precipitation that falls in a certain place , noting that in meteorological terms the precipitation is all that hydrometeor that falls to the earth from the atmosphere, including de In this way, rain, drizzle, hail, snow and sleet, not counting how much mist or dew can measure , since these are only forms of condensation of said hydrometeors.

  • Definition
  • What is a rain gauge for?
  • Source
  • Who invented it
  • How does it work
  • Features of the rain gauge
  • Types
  • Parties
  • How to make a homemade rain gauge
  • Importance


A rain gauge is a device used to calculate the precipitation that falls in a certain place during a certain amount of time.

What is a rain gauge for?

It is used to measure meteorological precipitation through rain , drizzle, hail, snow and sleet.


The first appearances of the measurement of rain date from 500 BC, thanks to the Greeks who began to measure it, however, 100 years later in India , the population already had notion of the collection of rain , since Every time there was rainy weather they placed containers or containers to collect rainwater, in order to later measure it, in these cases the measurement of rain only helped them to progress in terms of crops.

For this reason, it can be said that the need to measure rain and its fall , arises from agricultural development, since in Palestine, religious writings were found that spoke exactly of the fall of rain as an essential supply for the agricultural field , and therefore the supply of essential nutritional resources .

Around 1441 in Korea, the scientist Jang Yeong-sil developed what would become the first rain gauge or alluviometer, made of bronze and with a standard aperture, which he called  Cheugugi .

However, by 1639 Benedetto Castelli, who was a disciple of Galileo , made the first rainfall measurements in Europe , with the purpose of knowing the water contribution of a rain event for Lake Trasimeno, this rain gauge so to speak was manual, through a cylindrical glass container that was placed in the rain and each hour of precipitation that fell the level that it reached was marked.

In 1662 , what was the first rain gauge with tilting buckets was devised , which then the inventor Christopher Wren associated the following year not only with the measurement of precipitation, but also claimed that the device recorded other meteorological parameters such as air temperature. and the direction of the wind .

Who invented it

The first rain gauge was devised by Jang Yeong-sil in the 15th century. After this came the rain gauges of Benedetto Castelli and Christopher Wren . Finally, Gustav Johann Georg Hellmann  invented the modern rain gauge in 1886.

How does it work

The device is placed in a high place, in which at the time of the rain it is not affected by any obstacle when measuring, the container will gradually store the water and at the end, according to the measures that it has marked the precipitation will be determined.

Features of the rain gauge

The main characteristics of the rain gauge are:

  • It is a meteorological device.
  • Measures rain, drizzle, hail, snow, and sleet.
  • It does not measure mist or dew.
  • It is cylindrical, and one of its parts is funnel-shaped.


Manual rain gauge

This is distinguished by being the standard and one of the most common, being in this way a simple indicator of the fall of the rain, it is usually made up of a special cylindrical container with a marked graduated scale , the height of the water reached inside of the cylinder is equivalent to precipitation and is measured in millimeters.

Totalizing rain gauges

These types of rain gauges are the most accurate and collect the water through a funnel , which directs the liquid to a graduated container. The totalizing rain gauges tend to be placed at a certain height from the ground and a manager records the fall of water every 12 hours; the only flaw with this type of rain gauge is that you cannot determine the time it rained.

Siphon pluviograph

With this, the precipitation over time is known with exactitude, this equipment has a rotating drum that rotates at a constant speed, which consists of a graduated paper and a pen in its interior that floats vertically by the water it contains; If it does not rain, the pen marks a horizontal straight line , since there are no changes in the water level in the drum.

Tilting double bucket pluviograph

After collecting the collected water by means of a funnel , this instrument leads it to a small double triangular basin that can be made of metal or plastic and that has a hinge in a balanced midpoint; This system conducts the water from one bucket to another as they fill, and each time it reaches the expected precipitation, usually 0.2 millimeters, there is an equilibrium change to the other bucket, while the first one counts again.


  • Water inlet or mouth of the rain gauge.
  • Conductive funnel for the collected water.
  • Water tank or collector that is usually directly graduated to facilitate the measurement of the collected water.

How to make a homemade rain gauge

A cylindrical container or container is taken, ideally it is transparent and made of plastic, since we will cut its upper part to make a kind of perpendicular nozzle, it is important that the main opening is the size of the rest of the container, in this way the The water reading will be true, you can place a kind of ruler by positioning the 0 with the base of the cylinder, if you want to use this resource it is recommended that the scale or ruler be metallic, since the sun can deteriorate it over time.

A vertical base will be placed on this cylinder, which allows us to place it in a clear area so that the fall of the water does not suffer interference.


It is true that the importance of the rain gauge since ancient Greece was simply agricultural , however, over the years this importance increased in such a way that not only is it now used in agricultural fields, but meteorologists in the same way They try not only to measure the fall of water, but also to diagnose climatic changes.

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