Q: When was the first rain gauge used?
A: People have been trying to measure rainfall for thousands of years, said Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.
“Ancient Chinese government records show that the Chou dynasty was interested in keeping rainfall measurements over 3,000 years ago,” McRoberts said. “We also know that there are records in India of recording rainfall about 400 B.C. Some of the best records were kept in Korea. King Sejong wanted to improve agricultural technology and his son, who was to become King Munjong, invented a rain gauge in the 1400s. A rain gauge was sent to every village to measure a farmer’s potential harvest and to determine taxes to be levied on certain areas of the country according to the rainfall it received.”
Q: What about modern rain gauges?
A: Records appear to be somewhat sketchy, McRoberts reported.
“In Europe, the earliest rain gauge appears to be one devised by inventor Christopher Wren in 1662,” he noted. “In Great Britain in 1722, a Rev. Horsley invented a rain gauge that seemed to set the standard for years to come. Today, rain gauges are a bit more sophisticated than those used 200 years ago, but the idea is still the same, to see how much rain has fallen over a 24-hour period.”