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Evaluation of precipitation measurements methods under field conditions during a summer season: a comparison of the standard rain gauge with a weighable lysimeter and a piezoelectric precipitation sensor

Haselow, Lisa, Meissner, Ralph, Rupp, Holger, Miegel, Konrad
Journal of hydrology 2019
gravity, lysimeters, monitoring, rain, rain gauges, rain intensity, summer
Current precipitation measurements are conducted largely by simple automatic rain gauges. Despite being error-prone and sometimes of questionable accuracy, the procedure is still widely used. In recent years new possibilities have emerged, which are based on different measuring principles. Although the application of alternative devices is increasing, its use in research is limited. In this study, precipitation measurements by different devices were compared, and systematic errors caused by individual characteristics were corrected. Data were collected by means of a monitoring network, which included a piezoelectric precipitation sensor mounted at 2.3 m, a standard tipping bucket at 1 m, and a weighable gravitation lysimeter at ground level. As measurements at ground level are considered as optimum, the records of the lysimeter were thereby determined as a reference. The results showed that precipitation measured by elevated rain gauges differed in total between -6.8% and +35% compared to rainfall measured by the lysimeter. The records correlated well, but the analyses indicated a strong influence of the precipitation intensity on the recorded amount of precipitation. The deviations between values of the rain gauges and those of the lysimeter increased with rainfall intensity. In general, the tipping bucket demonstrated negative error values and indicated an underestimation of precipitation compared to records at ground level, whereas the piezoelectric precipitation sensor showed an overestimation by highly positive error values. A subsequent precipitation correction through the linear scaling method improved significantly the raw data of the rain gauges.