Understanding Rain Reports from Climate FieldView™
Rainfall Reporting in Climate FieldView™
Why are precipitation measurements provided by Climate FieldView™ sometimes exactly the same as your rain gauge and sometimes totally different?
Single Point vs Whole Field
While a rain gauge records the precipitation for the few square inches of your field that it covers, the intensity of rain can vary greatly from one side of the field to another. You will often get different readings depending on where you put your gauge. For example, that patch over by the house gets less wind and less rain than the corner up by the road. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CocoRaHS) has some good tips on how to best set up a rain gauge.
Climate FieldView™ takes a different approach to rainfall measurements. We provide a precipitation measurement for your entire field. The way we do this is by taking live weather data feeds from various sources, including weather stations, rain gauge networks and radar.. These data feeds come as an average precipitation measurement for a grid of roughly ⅓ of a square mile. We then match those grids up to your fields. We receive our first estimate of precipitation 15 minutes after the hour. Then, as more data is received, we update the readings with additional quality-controlled values. This is why you will sometimes see our measurements change over time. For the best estimates, it is a good idea to wait at least one day after a rain storm to check the values provided by FieldView™ for a given day.
Here’s a picture which explains why we prefer the multi-sensor approach rather than relying solely on weather stations and rain gauges:
Often times your rain gauge can capture a particular storm effect at a single point. In addition, there are many reasons why gauges often give you inaccurate readings. For example, your rain gauge will report less rain if it’s windy or you just forgot to empty it the prior day. Our approach relies on many sources of information to help prevent such inaccuracies. But it also means that our precipitation records may frequently differ from what you see on your rain gauge.
There are benefits of monitoring both FieldView™ rainfall values and your rain gauge. Looking at whole field precipitation will help you understand the varying workability of your fields. It also shows how your fields are trending over the season – too wet, too dry or just right.
We are hard at work in various ways to improve these measurements. By incorporating as much data as possible from multiple sources, we aim to provide you with the most accurate and timely precipitation records and weather forecasts, day in and day out.
For the 2017 growing season, we are making some small adjustments to the rainfall report email to help make the numbers easier to understand, and to align with the rest of our product. The report will cover a 24-hour time period starting at midnight Central Time the day before the email is received. This should make the value in the email align more closely with our historic rainfall reports, which report rainfall for each calendar day. We will also be sending out the rainfall report emails slightly later in the morning, at about 6 AM Central Time. This will help us ensure we have enough sensor data to make sure that first estimate we send is built from the best data we have.
This is also the first year you will be able to see rainfall reports for operations and fields that have been shared with you. The latest version of the app includes options for enabling email notifications for shared operations. You can manage these notifications in the settings tab in the FieldView™ app.