NASA - Reading a Rain Gauge

NASA - Reading a Rain Gauge

Reading a rain gauge is simple. We can look at the measurement marks on the side of a rain-capturing device, and find the level of water collected from a passing storm. Depending on what system is used where we live, we can read inches or millimeters and say how much rain has fallen. But the device collects a volume of liquid, doesn’t it? Why do rain gauges measure rain in millimeters or inches, which are units of length, instead of in pints or liters, which are units of volume? (See full story for image gallery.)

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NASA - Examining Precipitation on a Globe of Blue

NASA - Examining Precipitation on a Globe of Blue

When you shake a snow globe, white flakes are suspended in the enclosed environment until they begin to fall on the miniature buildings and people. Because we are located outside that little world, we can observe the entire weather system taking place—where the biggest accumulations of flakes are occurring, and how long it takes until the storm clears. We have a similar view of our planetary globe from satellites located above the Earth and beyond our weather systems that can see where precipitation is falling. (See full story for gallery of images.)

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