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The variability of rainfall in space and time is an essential driver of many processes in nature but little is known about its extent on the sub-kilometre scale, despite many agricultural and environmental experiments on this scale. A network of 13 tipping-bucket rain gauges was operated on a 1·4 km2 test site in southern Germany for four years to quantify spatial trends in rainfall depth, intensity, erosivity, and predicted runoff. The random measuring error ranged from 10% to 0·1% in case of 1 mm and 100 mm rainfall, respectively. The wind effects could be well described by the mean slope of the horizon at the stations. Except for one station, which was excluded from further analysis, the relative differences...