Join us at The Wildlife Center on November 19 for an official CoCoRaHS training! CoCoRaHS stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network, and this network of volunteer precipitation observers are very important to weather forecasters, drought monitors, and researchers.
Precipitation is a tricky thing to measure. Rain gauges are the best, despite problems such as rain splashing out of the gauge, but we can’t cover the globe with rain gauges, and it’s very difficult to put rain gauges in the ocean! Radar can be used to estimate rainfall, but that method also has problems, especially in northern New Mexico where the radar beam’s lowest scan level can be above 7000 ft, or east of the Sandia where the mountains block the beam.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite was the first precipitation radar in space, and for the last 17 years it has been measuring rainfall. Unfortunately, this satellite covers a large area and can’t see all of the rain that falls. We can use other satellites to try to fill in the gaps, with marginal to great success, depending on the situation. In my graduate school research, I discovered that our satellite estimates can be quite different from what radar and rain gauges show in the southwest U.S. I really needed more rain gauges!
Special rain gauges are necessary to be an official CoCoRaHS observer. This is because the data needs to be comparable. TWC will be ordering rain gauges for those interested in participating, and we’re getting a bulk discount so they will cost around $26.