How Does Rain Form? Raindrops And More Must-Know Facts For Kids! | Kidadl


How Does Rain Form? Raindrops And More Must-Know Facts For Kids!

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The water cycle is a biological cycle that describes the continuous movements of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.

It is also known as the hydrological cycle or hydrologic cycle. Rain is formed when the tiny droplets have condensed to form atmospheric water vapor.

Water droplets condense within the clouds to form big drops of water. When this water vapor becomes heavy enough to fall under gravity to fall on the ground as the liquid water, it is known as rain. It is responsible for depositing the fresh water on the Earth in order to provide suitable conditions for the ecosystem.

Meteorology is the science field dealing with the atmospheric climate and weather to explore the phenomena. Rainfall is considered very important for the survival of plants and animals on Earth. The average speed of rainfall is 29 ft per second (9 mps). Drizzle falls at 6.5 ft per second (2 mps).

After understanding the phenomenon that works behind forming every raindrop in our world, do read how does a rainbow form and how do mirrors work? 

How does rain form in clouds?

Rain features droplets of water that fall on the Earth from the clouds. While some people also say that rain clouds as water vapor which is formed fall back on the Earth. Rain is formed from a process known as precipitation which starts with the water cycle where water moves from earth to atmosphere and vice versa.

The mass amount of water on Earth remains the same. Although it changes its state from solid, liquid, and gas. The water cycle involves an exchange of energy.

Evaporation takes place when the sun heats the water bodies like rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans on the earth. Water vapor is formed when water is evaporated and turned into a gas that rises in the air.  Evaporation cools the environment as it takes energy from the surrounding.

When the water vapor is cooled down and turned into water, it is called condensation. As water vapor condenses in the environment, it warms up by releasing energy. This phase of the evaporation cycle replenishes the sources of fresh water. Condense water forms the clouds. When these clouds get heavy they become large and by the force of gravity, they are pulled towards the Earth. When these water droplets fall from the cloud it is called rain. When this droplet freezes during the process of falling it become hail, sleet, or snow.

How is rain formed in winter?

When it rains in winter it can form freezing rain, sleet, or snow. This is due to the variation of temperature with height. As we know, hot air rises and cold air sinks. This causes a temperature difference in the atmosphere. When there is no cold air near the ground, that is, the temperature is sufficiently above the freezing point of water, it rains normally. When the air near the ground is colder than above, the water droplets form in the warmer clouds at higher altitudes but quickly freeze as they reach the ground making it seem like the water drops freeze as they hit the surface. This is called freezing rain. When the column of colder air is larger. At colder temperatures, when the lower end of the clouds is warmer than the air underneath it, the water cannot condense and forms partial snow, as it continues to fall, the snow starts melting on its surface and again forms a small ball of ice due to the colder temperature.

In very cold regions, if the clouds are cooled before they are allowed to precipitate, they don’t form larger droplets, but instead, start forming crystals around small dust particles and form snowflakes that fall on the ground as snow.

This type of weather phenomenon is studied as atmospheric science and helps better understand the weather patterns of different regions. 

Garden flowers in rain.

What is freezing rain and how does it form?

Freezing rain can be distinguished from snow as snow is soft and light in weight; while freezing rain forms in the shape of water droplets and is heavier.

One of the main reasons for car accidents and power cuts is ice storms.  Ice storms are caused due to the mixing of rain with ice due to an ice storm. The water due to the rain cools rapidly and causes it to freeze when it hits the cold ground. An interesting thing is that the water droplets mostly don’t freeze when they are in the air, this is because the water droplets are supercooled and can’t be turned into ice crystals due to the absence of nucleation sites. Nucleation sites are essential for the formation of crystals.

This phenomenon is prevalent in places where the temperature varies with height, water droplets form at a high altitude and when they are condensed, they form water droplets and fall towards the surface. As they fall, tiny dust particles are surrounded by tiny water droplets due to surface tension and form into a big drop of water. As these droplets fall further down, they pass through the lower, colder regions of air formed by the ice storms. This cools the water droplet at sub-zero temperatures but does not let it freeze. When it reaches the ground, if the ground is cooler than the air above it, it quickly makes the water freeze, turning water into ice and making it seem like freezing rain.

Why does rain turn into snow?

Rain turns into snow because of the temperature. When precipitation, frozen water, or any liquid forms in the atmosphere and falls back on Earth, it begins as snow before hitting the ground. These snowflakes are formed where the air temperature is below 32 F (0 C). When they are developed above freezing level, they start to fall towards earth in the form of snow. Cold air is important to be there as snow falls to the ground from the clouds when precipitation begins. There is a possibility of a thin layer of warm air near the surface but as it is so shallow, the snow touches the ground intact.

The water cycle starts with the process of evaporation. Evaporation occurs when the water of the ocean as liquid forms into water vapor as a gas due to the heat of the sun. This increases the moisture in the air and as this air rises up, it forms clouds. Clouds are formed when water molecules aggregate on tiny particles of dust to form tiny water droplets. When these droplets get heavy enough, they precipitate and fall as rain or sometimes as snow towards the land.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how does rain form, then why not take a look at centipede vs millipede, or chickens losing feathers: amaze-wing facts on chickens molt explained!

Kidadl Team
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Kidadl Team

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