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The measurement of rain kinetic energy and rain intensity using an acoustic disdrometer

Winder, P.; Paulson, K. S.


P. Winder

K. S. Paulson


Microwave engineers and geomorphologists require rainfall data with a much greater temporal resolution and a better representation of the numbers of large raindrops than is available from current commercial instruments. This paper describes an acoustic instrument that determines rain parameters from the sound of raindrops falling into a tank of water. There is a direct relationship between the kinetic energy (KE) of a raindrop and the acoustic energy that it creates upon impact. Rain KE flux density is estimated from measurements of the sound field in the tank, and these have been compared to measurements from a co-sited commercial disdrometer. Eight months of data have been collected in the eastern UK. Comparisons of rain KE estimated by the two instruments are presented and links between the KE and rainfall intensity are discussed. The sampling errors of the two instruments are analysed to show that the acoustic instrument can produce rain KE measurements with a 1 s integration time with sampling uncertainty of the same size as commercial instruments using a 1 min integration time.


Winder, P., & Paulson, K. S. (2012). The measurement of rain kinetic energy and rain intensity using an acoustic disdrometer. Measurement Science and Technology, 23(1), 015801.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 30, 2011
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2011
Publication Date Jan 1, 2012
Print ISSN 0957-0233
Electronic ISSN 1361-6501
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Article Number ARTN 015801
Pages 015801
Keywords Rain; Disdrometer; Acoustic; Rain rate; Kinetic energy
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