Today's instruments for measuring precipitation open up a new world of information.
Today's instruments for measuring precipitation open up a new world of information, but the challenge arises when different types of instruments make different observations even if they are located in the same place.
Hi! My name is Vilde and I have an internship at the Meteorological Institute this semester.
When I was little, there was a small rain gauge in the garden. It was always exciting to run out in the morning and see how much water had magically appeared in the little container during the night. I looked up at the meter, emptied it, and set it ready for the next night. I did not think much about what the water that "magically" appeared in the meter could tell us, and for many, myself included, the use of such a simple rain gauge is probably what is seen as the most logical way to measure precipitation.
It turns out naturally enough with today's technology that there are much more effective measurement methods for mapping precipitation and these methods open up a whole new world of information. The measuring instruments used today usually consist of a transmitter and a receiver, in addition to a laser sensor that creates a horizontal light strip between the transmitter and the receiver. When precipitation passes through the laser beam, some of the light beam is blocked and from these blocks of light we can retrieve a lot of information and data. We can, for example, get information about the size of the precipitation particles, what type of precipitation it is, the intensity of the precipitation, the speed and much more.
It sounds great that there are such good methods for precipitation measurement, but a challenge is that different types of precipitation instruments can have different measurements even if they are located in the same place. This is what I will be working on during my practice here at the Meteorological Institute. I will compare data from different precipitation instruments and see how they possibly differ from each other. I will also see how the different instruments are affected under different weather conditions. Maybe a lot of wind leads to incorrect measurement data in one instrument, while other instruments handle it much better? Or maybe one of the instruments repeatedly detects that it is snowing while the others detect that it is raining?
The first time at the Meteorological Institute has been very exciting, and all the people I have met have been very nice and helpful. Everyone I meet in the hallways stops and greets, and they happily share what they themselves work with. The continuation will be exciting, and it will be interesting to see what the precipitation results show about the various instruments in a few months!
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