U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, 1999.


A site was established by the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service on the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in southwest Idaho in the fall of 1987 and operated through the spring of 1994, to compare precipitation catch between nine precipitation-measuring systems. This site was established as a part of the World Meteorological Organization’s program to compare current national methods of measuring solid precipitation (snow), so the primary emphasis of this study was the measurement of snowfall. Over seven seasons, four of the systems measured snowfall and total catch, which included snow, mixed snow and rain, and rain events, within 4% of the Wyoming shielded gauge, which had the greatest total catch. These measuring systems were the Alter shielded gauge and the dual-gauge system from the United States, the double-fence shielded gauge from Russia, and the Nipher shielded gauge from Canada. The unshielded universal recording gauge that was mounted with its orifice at 3.05 m had the least catch in all precipitation categories, which amounted to 24% less snow, 18% less mixed snow and rain, and 10% less rain than was measured by the Wyoming shielded gauge.