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An event-based comparison of two types of automated-recording, weighing bucket rain gauges

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A multiyear comparison of two types of automated-recording, weighing bucket rain gauges was conducted using precipitation data collected at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service's Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in southeastern Arizona. The comparison was part of the conversion of all rain gauges on the watershed from an analog-recording, mechanical-weighing rain gauge to a data logger controlled, digital-recording, electronic-weighing rain gauge with radiotelemetry. This comparison applied to nine pairs of analog and digital rain gauges that were in coincident operation during a 5-year period, 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2004. This study found that (1) high errors in event intensities may be produced when analog charts are digitized at short time intervals; (2) dual digital rain gauges recorded precipitation equivalently; (3) for several different measures of precipitation, the analog and digital data were equivalent; and (4) implications for the rainfall-runoff model, Kinematic and Erosion Runoff model (KINEROS), showed a limited but significant effect in modeled runoff due to differences between analog and digital rain gauge input precipitation intensities. This study provided a useful analysis for long-term rain gauge networks that have recently converted, or will soon convert, from analog to digital technology. Understanding these differences and similarities will benefit interpretation of the combined long-term precipitation record and provide insights into the impacts on hydrologic modeling.
Keefer, T.O. , Unkrich, C.L. , Smith, J.R. , Goodrich, D.C. , Moran, M.S. , Simanton, J.R.
In the special section: Fifty years of research and data collection: U.S. Department of Agriculture Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed.
Water resources research 2008 May, v. 44, no. 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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