Volunteer rainfall observing
SEPA currently records rainfall at 383 sites
across Scotland, of which 267 are registered with the Met Office,
contributing to the national rainfall archive.
The national rainfall archive, looked after by
the Met Office, provides a valuable source of data from across the
UK relating to rainfall. This data is used by SEPA, the Met Office
and other organisations such as the Ministry of Defence, the
Environment Agency, and utility companies for weather and flood
forecasting, climatology and water resource management.
Voluntary members of the public, also known as
‘rainfall observers’ currently run 146 of these sites. Observers
measure and record the accumulated rainfall from their gauge,
daily, and send the data to SEPA on a monthly basis for processing
and entry into its database and the national archive.
The service that the voluntary rainfall
observers provide is invaluable, but we need more people to get
involved to help maintain, and expand our network of rainfall
observers across the country and continue to collect these
There can never be enough observers to capture
the diverse rainfall patterns we experience in Scotland and we
would welcome new observers from anywhere in Scotland. In
particular, we are looking for observers in Lochaber, Sutherland,
Shetland and in the Western Isles where our coverage is
What you need to do?
Volunteer rainfall observers need to be
dedicated and reliable. An observer is provided with a storage
gauge and is required to measure the accumulated rainfall at 0900
GMT on a daily basis, 365 days a year. During periods of absence
such as holidays, observers can arrange for a ‘deputy’ to carry out
the measurements. If a deputy is not available, then an accumulated
total can be provided over the period of absence. The daily
measurements are recorded on a card that is returned to SEPA on a
monthly basis using pre-paid postage.
Getting started is easy all you have to do is
contact Grant Kennedy by email or on 01355 574368, to
indicate your interest. We will then we will arrange for a
site visit, and distribution of the equipment.