On the Use of Dynamic Calibration to Correct Drop Counter Rain Gauge Measurements

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Sep 21;21(18):6321. doi: 10.3390/s21186321.


Dynamic calibration was performed in the laboratory on two catching-type drop counter rain gauges manufactured as high-sensitivity and fast response instruments by Ogawa Seiki Co. Ltd. (Japan) and the Chilbolton Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK). Adjustment procedures were developed to meet the recommendations of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for rainfall intensity measurements at the one-minute time resolution. A dynamic calibration curve was derived for each instrument to provide the drop volume variation as a function of the measured drop releasing frequency. The trueness of measurements was improved using a post-processing adjustment algorithm and made compatible with the WMO recommended maximum admissible error. The impact of dynamic calibration on the rainfall amount measured in the field at the annual and the event scale was calculated for instruments operating at two experimental sites. The rainfall climatology at the site is found to be crucial in determining the magnitude of the measurement bias, with a predominant overestimation at the low to intermediate rainfall intensity range.

Keywords: drop counter; dynamic calibration; measurement accuracy; rain gauge.