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• Introduction
• Forms of precipitation
• Mechanism of precipitation
• Classification
• Measurement of precipitation
• Types of rain gauges
• Definition:
• Fall of moisture from atmosphere in any form.
• Precipitation is any product of the
condensation of water vapours that fall under
• It is an important input to hydrology.
• Floods and droughts are directly related to
• Factors determining precipitation are
• Climate
• Geography
• Ocean surfaces is the major
source of moisture for
Forms of precipitation
Forms of precipitation
Forms of precipitation
• hail
Mechanism of precipitation
Mechanism of precipitation
• All precipitation originates from parcels of
moist air that have been cooled below dew-
point temperature.
• Lifting mechanism to cool the air.
• Formation of cloud elements(droplets/ice
• Growth of cloud elements.
• Sufficient accumulation of cloud elements.
Convective precipitation
It results from heating of earth’s surface that
cause air to rise rapidly. As the air rises it cools
and moisture condenses into clouds and
Cyclonic precipitation
(frontal/non frontal)
• whentwo air masses due to contrasting
temperatures and densities clash with each
other ,condensation and precipitation occur at
the surface of contact.
Orographic precipitation
• When heavily moisture laden air stops due to
topographic conditions (mountains)and
precipitation occurs on the windward side of
the mountain while leeward side receives very
little .just like in Himalayan region.
Measurement of precipitation
• 1. Amount of precipitation

• 2. Intensity of precipitation

• 3. Duration of precipitation

• 4. Arial extent of precipitation

Measurement Methods
 Measurement of precipitation (Rain and Snow)
can be done by various devices. These measuring
devices and techniques are;

 Rain Gauges
 Snow Gauges
 Radars
 Satellites
 Scratching of snow packs
 Water equivalent in snow packs
Rain gauges are most commonly used for the
measurement of precipitation, both in terms
of rain fall and snow.
Types of rain gauges
1. Non recording rain gauges
2. Recording rain gauges
Non recording rain gauges
• It is a rain gage which does not provide the
distribution of amount of precipitation in a
day. It simply gives the amount of
precipitation after 24 hours (daily
Recording rain gauges
• These rain gauges are also called integrating
rain gauges since they record cumulative
rainfall. In addition to the total amount of
rainfall at a station, it gives the times of onset
and cessation of rains (thereby gives the
duration of rainfall events)
Types of recording Rain gauges
• There are three main types of recording rain

• 1. Float type rain gages

• 2. Tipping bucket type rain gages

• 3. Weighing type rain gages

2.Tipping Bucket Rain-gauge
•Consists of 30 cm diameter sharp
edge receiver.
•At the end of receiver funnel is
•Under the funnel a pair of buckets are
pivoted (the central point which
balances) in such away that when one
bucket receives 0.25 mm (0.01”) of
rainfall it tips (to fall or turn over),
discharging its contents into reservoir
bringing other bucket under funnel.
•Tipping of bucket completes an
electric circuit causing the
movement of pen to mark on clock
driven revolving drum which
carries a record sheet
Weighing Bucket Rain-gauge
• Consists of a receiver bucket
supported by a spring or lever
balance or any other weighing
• The movement of bucket due
to its increasing weight is
transmitted to a pen which
traces the record on a clock
driven chart.
Float Type Rain-gauge
• The rise of float with increasing catch of rainfall is recorded.
Some gauges must be emptied manually while others are
emptied automatically using self starting siphons. In most
gauges oil or mercury is the float and is placed in the receiver,
but in some cases the receiver rests on a bath of oil or
mercury and the float measures the rise of oil or mercury
displaced by the increase weight of the receiver as the rainfall
catch freezes.
Errors in precipitation measurement
by gauges
 Instrumental errors
 Errors in scale reading
 Dent in receivers
 Dent in measuring cylinders
 About 0.25mm of water is initially required to wet the surface of
 Rain gauges splash from collector
 Frictional effects
 Non verticality of measuring cylinders (10° inclination gives 1.5%
less precipitation)
 Loss of water by evaporation
 Leakage in measuring cylinder
 Wind speed reduces measured amount of rain in the rain gauges.
Average precipitation over an area
• In order to compute the average rainfall over a basin or
catchment area, the rainfall is measured at a number of raingauge stations
suitably located in the area.
• The no. of rain-gauge stations depends upon the area and
distribution of rainfall.
• If a basin or catchment area contains more than one raingauge station,
the computation of average rainfall may be done by the following
1. Arithmetic average method.
2. Thiessen polygon method.
3. Isohyetal method.
1.Arithmetic average method.
• Precipitation over area area is arithmetic average of gauge
precipitation values.
• Simplest method but only applicable when basin area is flat.
• All stations with in practical limit uniformly distributed over
• Rainfall is also nearly uniformly distributed over area.

• P1,P2…….Pn=no of precipitation
• N=no of gauges
• I=stations
2.Thiessen polygon method.
•This method is a more common method of
weighing the rain gauge observation according
to the area.
• Also called Weighted Mean Method.
• Accurate than arithmetic average method.
•Average rainfall can be computed by the
2.Thiessen polygon method.
1. Join the adjacent rain-gauge stations.
2. Construct the perpendicular bisectors of each of these lines.
3. The polygon formed by theperpendicular bisectors around a
station encloses an area encloses an area which is every where
closer to that station than to any other station.
4. Find the area of each of these polygons, shown hatched in the
5. Compute the average precipitation using the given formula.
2.Thiessen polygon method.
2.Thiessen polygon method.
3.Isohyetal method
An isohyet is a line, on a rainfall map of the basin, joining places
of equal rainfall readings.
•An isohyetal map showing contours of equal rainfall presents a
more accurate picture of the rainfall distribution over the basin.
•Average rainfall can be computed by the following
Isohytal method
 Plot gauge locations on a map;
 Subjectively interpolate between rain amounts
between gauges at a selected interval;
 Connect points of equal rain depth to produce lines
of equal rainfall amounts (isohyets);
Isohyetal method
Radar Measurements
A weather radar is a type of radar used to locate precipitation,
calculate its motion, estimate its type (rain, snow, hail, etc.),
and forecast its future position and intensity. Weather radars
are mostly Doppler radars, capable of detecting the motion of
rain droplets in addition to intensity of the precipitation. Both
types of data can be analyzed to determine the structure of
storms and their potential to cause severe weather.
Satellite Measurements
A weather satellite is a type of
satellite that is primarily used to
monitor the weather and
climate of the Earth.These
meteorological satellites,
however, see more than clouds
and cloud systems, like other
types of environmental
information collected using
weather satellites.
Weekly precipitation outlook over
Pakistan by PMD
Analysis of Missing Precipitation Data
 Presentation of rainfall data

 Missing Rainfall data

 Average Rainfall over an area

 There are three methods of presentation of rainfall data which
have been found to be useful in interpretation and analysis of
hydrological studies are given as follows;

1. Hyetograph method

2. Mass curve of rainfall method

3. Point rainfall method

 A hyetograph is bar graph.
 It represent a plot of the
intensity of rainfall against the
time interval.

 It can be prepared either from

the mass curve of rainfall, or
directly from the data obtained
from raingauges.
 It is very easy to represent the
characteristics of a storm and it
is useful in the development of
design storms to predict
extreme floods.

 The area under a hyetograph

represents the total rainfall
received in that period.
 The mass curve of rainfall is a
plot of the cumulative depth of
rainfall against time, plotted in
chronological order.

 The steepness of the curve

indicates the intensity of rainfall.

 The horizontal line of the curve

indicates that there is no rainfall
during that period.
 Mass curve is directly plotted in
float type and weighing bucket
type raingauge.

 From the mass curve, the total

depth of rainfall and intensity of
rainfall at any instant of time can
be found.
 It is also known as station rainfall.

 The rainfall data of a particular station is known as point


 This rainfall data can be presented as daily, weekly, monthly,

seasonal or annual values for various periods.

 It is graphically presented as plots of magnitude vs

chronological time in the form of bar diagram.
 Sometimes, it may not be possible to measure the rainfall at a
particular measuring station due to absence of the observer or
instrument failure.
 So, to predict the missing data with the help of available data
of nearby measuring station, using following methods;

1. Arithmetic mean method

2. Normal ratio method
3. Inverse distance method
 If rainfall data of station X is missing then to find out the missing
rainfall data Px;
 Rainfall data of at least three rain gauge is required.

 Px should be within 10% of the normal annual rainfall of the

index stations.

 Rain gauge stations should be evenly distributed around the

missing station & as close as possible.
 This method is used, when the average annual rainfall at any of the index
stations are more than 10% of the average annual rainfall of the station X.

Where , N1,N2,N3 ,….Nn = Avg. annual rainfall of index stations

Nx = Avg. annual rainfall of missing station
n = Number of index station
 A precipitation station X was inoperative for some time during
which a storm occurred. The storm totals at three stations A, B,
and C surrounding X, were respectively 6.6, 4.8, and 3.7 cm.
The normal annual rainfall amounts at stations X,A,B and C are
respectively 65.6, 72.6, 51.8 and 38.2 cm. Estimate the storm
precipitation for station X.
The normal annual rainfall at stations A,B,C and D in a basin are 80.97,
67.59, 76.28 and 92.01 cm respectively. In the year 1985, the station D
was inoperative and the station A,B and C recorded annual precipitation
of 91.11, 72.23, and 79.89 cm respectively. Estimate the rainfall at station
D in that year.
 In this method a set of rectangular co-ordinate axes are passed through
the missing station so that its co-ordinates are (0,0).

 The co-ordinates (xi,yi) of each index station surrounding the

missing station are found.

 The weightage (Wi) of each index station is represented by

the inverse of the square of its distance from the missing
 The missing rainfall data of station X is then computed fro the
relation ;
 In a river basin a station A was inoperative during a storm,
while stations B,C,D and E, surrounding A were in operation,
registering 74mm, 88mm, 71mm and 80mm of precipitation.
The coordinates of B,C,D & E are (9,6) , (12,-9) , (-11,-6) and
(-7,7) respectively, with co-ordinates of A as (0,0). Estimate
the missing storm precipitation of station A by the inverse
distance method.