25 Apr 2023
 | 25 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

A new reference-quality precipitation gauge wind shield

John Kochendorfer, Tilden P. Meyers, Mark E. Hall, Scott D. Landolt, and Howard J. Diamond

Abstract. Gauge-based precipitation measurements suffer from undercatch due to the effects of wind, with solid precipitation measurements especially susceptible to such errors. When it is snowing and windy, unshielded precipitation gauges can catch less than half of the amount of precipitation of a gauge that is protected from the wind. For this reason, the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) developed a large, double layer, wooden wind shield called the Small Double Fence Intercomparison Reference (SDFIR). In past studies, the SDFIR has been demonstrated to be the most effective wind shield in use in any weather or climate network, reducing solid precipitation undercatch to less than 10 % in wind speeds up to 8 m s−1. However, the wooden SDFIRs are subject to decay, they are difficult to replace and maintain, and they hinder access to maintaining the gauge. For these reasons, a new precipitation gauge wind shield called the Low Porosity Double Fence (LPDF) has been developed for use in the USCRN. Tested at three separate sites chosen for prevalent windy and snowy weather, the precipitation measurements recorded within the LPDF compared well to the SDFIR. After more than two years of measurements, the total precipitation recorded by the LPDF at each individual site differed by ± 1.2 %, and the total LPDF accumulation from all sites was 0.03 % greater than the SDFIR accumulation. For the measurement of solid precipitation, the LPDF-shielded measurements were statistically indistinguishable from the SDFIR, and the time series of accumulation from precipitation gauges shielded by the SDFIR and the LPDF were almost identical. This new wind shield is much smaller and easier to install and maintain than any other reference-quality wind shield for the measurement of solid precipitation, and may be of use within other meteorological, hydrological, and climate networks. It could also serve as a secondary reference precipitation measurement for precipitation intercomparisons held in remote locations where the construction of a full-sized Double Fence Intercomparison Reference (DFIR) shield is not feasible.

John Kochendorfer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2023-2', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 May 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2023-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 May 2023

John Kochendorfer et al.

John Kochendorfer et al.


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Short summary
A new wind shield has been designed to reduce the effects of precipitation gauge undercatch. Tested at three separate sites, it compared well to a well-established refence-quality precipitation wind shield. The new wind shield is smaller and more durable than other reference-quality shields, and was designed for use in operational weather and climate networks.