Precipitation in polar regions and their registration:
Arctic precipitation is measured directly by a rain gauge in the majority of cases. For rain the measurement error of these gauges is about 5–10% and increases up to more than 100% for snow, depending on the wind. Therefore, different kinds of wind shields are usually mounted on arctic rain gauges, partly specific for the country (Nipher in Canada, Tretjakov in Russia).
Precipitation radar networks are available in many countries but do not cover the polar regions despite a few systems north of 70° N in Alaska, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The precipitation estimates from satellites are very rough for ice/snow covered surfaces. The model forecasts are also insufficient in comparison to ground based measurements.
An overall integrated precipitation estimate can be calculated from atmospheric moisture fluxes. Taking all sources into account the mean average precipitation north of 70° N is estimated to 10 mm/mon in winter and 20 mm/mon in summer. In the antarctic the average is in the scale of the arctic winter-time precipitation.