Do-it-yourself construction guide: Rugged accumulation precipitation gauge for remote monitoring
Precipitation is the key variable in assessing drought status and tracking changes in drought conditions. Precipitation is also highly variable in space and time and having your own rain gauge ensures you have data specifically for your location. Backyard rain gauges are inexpensive and easy to use, but what if your monitoring location is at a remote, unattended site? A simple and inexpensive accumulation gauge can help in this situation. These gauges are typically open containers like PVC pipes, capped on one end, containing a small amount of oil to stop evaporation. As precipitation falls into the gauge it collects below the thin film of oil and continues to accumulate until the gauge is emptied. This allows a gauge to be deployed at a remote site and read many months or even years later. Accumulation gauges are easy to construct on your own with materials and tools easily available at any local hardware store. These directions provide guidance on constructing a gauge with some added features that are particularly useful for remote monitoring (Figure 1). One particular feature of this gauge is the use of a clear PVC which allows the design to mimic the ease of use of typical plastic backyard gauges, but has the ruggedness to be deployed in remote locations and harsh environments. This pipe is not as readily available at hardware stores, but available through online retailers.