Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1437-1452, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
27 Feb 2018
Testing and development of transfer functions for weighing precipitation gauges in WMO-SPICE
John Kochendorfer1, Rodica Nitu2,3, Mareile Wolff4, Eva Mekis2, Roy Rasmussen5, Bruce Baker1, Michael E. Earle6, Audrey Reverdin7, Kai Wong2, Craig D. Smith8, Daqing Yang9, Yves-Alain Roulet7, Tilden Meyers1, Samuel Buisan10, Ketil Isaksen4, Ragnar Brækkan4, Scott Landolt5, and Al Jachcik5 1Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, ARL, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oak Ridge, USA
2Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
3World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
4Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
5National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA
6Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dartmouth, Canada
7Meteoswiss, Payerne, Switzerland
8Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, Canada
9Environment and Climate Change Canada, Victoria, Canada
10Delegación Territorial de AEMET (Spanish National Meteorological Agency) en Aragon, Zaragoza, Spain
Abstract. Weighing precipitation gauges are used widely for the measurement of all forms of precipitation, and are typically more accurate than tipping-bucket precipitation gauges. This is especially true for the measurement of solid precipitation; however, weighing precipitation gauge measurements must still be adjusted for undercatch in snowy, windy conditions. In WMO-SPICE (World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation InterComparison Experiment), different types of weighing precipitation gauges and shields were compared, and adjustments were determined for the undercatch of solid precipitation caused by wind. For the various combinations of gauges and shields, adjustments using both new and previously existing transfer functions were evaluated. For most of the gauge and shield combinations, previously derived transfer functions were found to perform as well as those more recently derived. This indicates that wind shield type (or lack thereof) is more important in determining the magnitude of wind-induced undercatch than the type of weighing precipitation gauge. It also demonstrates the potential for widespread use of the previously developed transfer functions. Another overarching result was that, in general, the more effective shields, which were associated with smaller unadjusted errors, also produced more accurate measurements after adjustment. This indicates that although transfer functions can effectively reduce measurement biases, effective wind shielding is still required for the most accurate measurement of solid precipitation.

Citation: Kochendorfer, J., Nitu, R., Wolff, M., Mekis, E., Rasmussen, R., Baker, B., Earle, M. E., Reverdin, A., Wong, K., Smith, C. D., Yang, D., Roulet, Y.-A., Meyers, T., Buisan, S., Isaksen, K., Brækkan, R., Landolt, S., and Jachcik, A.: Testing and development of transfer functions for weighing precipitation gauges in WMO-SPICE, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1437-1452,, 2018.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Due to the effects of wind, precipitation gauges typically underestimate the amount of precipitation that occurs as snow. Measurements recorded during a World Meteorological Organization intercomparison of precipitation gauges were used to evaluate and improve the adjustments that are available to address this issue. Adjustments for specific types of precipitation gauges and wind shields were tested and recommended.
Due to the effects of wind, precipitation gauges typically underestimate the amount of...