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Windshields for Precipitation Gauges and Improved Measurement Techniques for Snowfall

A photo of a windshield for precipitation guages.

Meteorologists study the chemistry of snow water by collecting snowfall and analyzing the melted snow, usually in a glycol mixture. But almost any wind reduces the efficiency of existing precipitation gauges for collecting snow, reducing the validity of pollution-concentration estimates that depend on collection efficiency. Windshields for precipitation gauges are ineffective and must be monitored frequently.

The Tech Tip, Windshields for Precipitation Gauges and Improved Measurement Techniques for Snowfall (0225-2325-MTDC), describes various windshields and their precipitation catch efficiency at different wind speeds. Some researchers have begun to abandon the bucket-type precipitation gauges that are protected by windshields. A hotplate snow gauge that melts snow as it hits the plate does not require protection from the wind. It is still in development and shows promise.

The Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Center in Ottawa, ON, Canada has developed a rotating ball gauge that requires no windshield. The Missoula center, in cooperation with the Ottawa center, will install two rotating ball gauges in Montana during the winter of 2003 to evaluate their efficiency.

This Tech Tip is available on the Internet at: /cgi-bin/enter.pl?link=pubs/htmlpubs/htm02252325/

For more information, contact Mary Ann Davies, project leader (phone: 4063293981, fax: 4063293719, e-mail: mdavies@fs.fed.us).


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