All year round, different areas around the world get different amounts of rainfall. Since water is one of the most important natural resources for humans, this rainfall can be a determining factor for many things. Not only can this knowledge help make forecasting more effective, but it is also essential for farmers and gardeners to ensure healthy produce. This is why, farmers, gardeners, meteorologists, and more all are looking for the most effective ways to measure rainfall.
One of the best ways to measure rainfall is with a rain gauge. A rain gauge is an instrument that uses different methods to determine the depth of precipitation over a unit area. While there are many rain gauges available on the market, the one by Stratus is definitely a go-to for many professionals. Stratus calls it the professional rain gauge and many people swear by its effectiveness. Let’s examine all its features and find out whether it really lives up to its reputation.
- Highly accurate up to 1/100th of an inch
- Easy to use install
- The cylinder is easy to remove due to the quick connect bracket
- Made out of heavy-duty, UV-resistant polycarbonate that is immune to rusting
- Ability to withstand tough weather conditions without corroding or fading
- Sizeable 12-inch rain capacity
- Can capture even light showers, making it highly precise
- Recommended by The Community Collaborative Rain (CoCoRaHS)
- The inner tube is prone to cracking if water freezes inside it
- Might be inconvenient for areas where the rainfall amount is greater than 1 inch in 24 hours
- Markings are only inches
The design of the Stratus rain gauge is fairly straightforward and minimalistic. It comes with a specially calibrated one-inch measuring tube that is encased in an 11-inch outer cylinder. The opening is four inches wide and allows rain to enter the measuring tube through a funnel. The additional rainfall collects in the external tube. The gauge is sold with a matching mounting bracket that makes the installation much easier.
The bracket, also referred to as the quick connect bracket, is designed with convenience in mind. All you have to do to start using the gauge is to pop it on the mounting bracket. This design also makes it easy to remove and examine the cylinders when needed. In terms of aesthetics, the rain gauge blends in as it is made of a completely clear material.
So far, the Stratus rain gauge has ticked all the boxes. Unfortunately, there are some glaring design drawbacks pointed out by regular users. According to customers who live in areas where it rains heavily, this gauge’s design seems to be highly limited and inconvenient. A big drawback is that only the inner cylinder has measurements and it maxes out at one inch. As a result, in areas where it rains more than one inch in 24 hours, the small cylinder overflows. Once that happens, there is no elegant way to measure the water that ends up in the outer cylinder. It can also make the measurements less accurate for such users. Many have recommended that the manufacturer add measurements to the outer cylinder to make the process less cumbersome. In addition to this, some customers are dissatisfied with the fact that the measurements are only in inches.
Since you have to install your rain gauge in an outdoor environment, it is naturally exposed to rough weather conditions and other elements. This means that to be long-lasting, rain gauges need to be sturdy and durable. The Stratus rain gauge is made with heavy-duty, UV-resistant polycarbonate. The gauge has been designed without any metal parts. As a result, there are no chances of rusting and corrosion due to water damage.
Apart from its solid material, the gauge also claims to be heat and frost resistant. However, according to the experiences of many individuals, the latter seems to be untrue. Customers living in areas where winters are extreme have reported that the inner tube tends to crack due to frozen water.
On the other hand, the gauge seems to work well for areas where extreme weather conditions are a rarity. For those going through the problem of frozen water, it is suggested that they remove the inner tube entirely and collect water in the larger cylinder. Once the water is collected, you can then pour it into the smaller cylinder and measure it in several rotations. However, we believe all this seems like a lot of hassle. Surely there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the durability of this gauge.
One of the most important criteria for judging a rain gauge should be how effectively it measures rain. This includes the accuracy and precision with which rainfall is measured. Stratus claims that their rain gauge is accurate to 1/100th of an inch. The rain gauge is built with US Weather Bureau standards in mind as well.
All these claims seem to be true as the rain gauge comes highly recommended by Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). This is a community of volunteers from America, Canada, and the Bahamas who are building a database of daily precipitation readings. Surely, having accurate measurements is important to the volunteers in this program. The fact that the CoCoRaHS recommended Stratus rain gauge for their readings is a good sign.
Despite this major notch in its belt, some design faults may make it more prone to error. Especially if your small cylinder overflows, you might lose some water as you pour it in from the larger cylinder. It is also possible to accidentally spill the water which sabotages the reading entirely. If these design issues were to be fixed then perhaps Stratus Rain gauge would be even more effective.
1. How Does the Stratus Rain Gauge Measure Rainfall Amount?
The Stratus rain gauge uses a one-inch cylinder with specially calibrated measurements to measure the rainfall. The device consists of a small measurement cylinder and a larger 11-inch cylinder that catches extra water. As it rains, the water first starts collecting in the inner cylinder through the funnel until it overflows to the outer cylinder. Through the inner cylinder, you can easily measure the amount of rainfall. If water ends up in the larger cylinder, you can measure the total amount by pouring it into the measuring cylinder as many times as you have to. Once you have noted all the measurements, you can add them up for the final value.
2. How Can I Protect the Stratus Rain Gauge From Getting Damaged?
To ensure the protection of your Stratus rain gauge, CoCoRaHS recommends that you cover it up with aluminium foil. This can help block harmful UV light that may make the material weaker overtime. Customers who have employed this strategy have received some stellar results.
Apart from UV rays, frozen water can also damage your rain gauge. In extreme winter months, water tends to freeze in the inner measuring cylinder. Once the water freezes, it can expand and cause cracks in the tube. To avoid this, you should remove the measuring cylinder in the extreme winter months and collect water in the larger cylinder. After collecting the water, you can take the cylinder inside and let it melt. Then you can pour it into the measuring cylinder and measure it appropriately.
3. What Can the Stratus Rain Gauge Be Used For?
There are several uses of the Stratus rain gauge depending on your end goals. If you are a weather enthusiast or a meteorologist by profession then you may want to use the rain gauge to measure rainfall for recording data. Just like the volunteers at CoCoRaHS, many people like to record weather data. This weather data can help us predict future weather trends.
Apart from that, many gardeners and farmers are also interested in rainfall measurement. Since rain is such an important factor when it comes to the growth of crops and produce, rain gauges can be valuable for them. Knowledge regarding the rainfall pattern in specific areas can help farmers plan better.
After having discussed each element of the Stratus rain gauge in great detail, we are ready for the final verdict. As we have explained before, definitely some design shortcomings make this rain gauge less than perfect. Despite these design issues, there is also a simplicity and ease of use that many people seem to love. Accuracy is also not that much of an issue and can only be a bit off if not done correctly.
All in all, we believe this rain gauge to be a solid investment. While the manufacturers can make improvements in the design and durability department, the current model suits the needs of most people. Especially if you are someone who lives in a moderate climate, this rain gauge would be perfect for your needs. However, if you do live in extreme weather conditions, there are some precautions you can take to keep the gauge as good as new. So, if you’re on the lookout for you’re a new rain gauge, you might want to give Stratus a try.