Listening to Raindrops

Jeffrey A. Nystuen

Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Abstract: The sound of rain underwater is loud and distinctive. It can be used as a signal to detect and measure oceanic rainfall. These measurements are needed to support climatological studies of the distribution and intensity of global rainfall patterns. Individual raindrops produce sound underwater by their impacts onto the ocean surface and, more importantly, by sound radiation from any bubbles trapped underwater during their splashes. Because different raindrop sizes produce distinctive sounds, the underwater sound can be inverted to quantitatively measure drop size distribution in the rain. Acoustical Rain Gauges (ARGs) are being deployed on oceanic moorings to make long-term measurements of rainfall using this acoustical technique.

web site link:

journal location:

specific site:

Return to list of journal publications

Return to Dr. Nystuen's Web Page

op distribution parameter