Rainfall is the most common natural phenomenon that occurs everywhere in the world.
Rainfall is important for every aspect of life, starting from agriculture to freshwater supply. Without the sun's heat, there wouldn't be any rain.
Among the different kinds of weather conditions, namely cloudy, sunny, rainy, windy, and stormy, rain results from the continuous evaporation of water vapor from the Earth's surface. The amount of rainfall varies from place to place. Places with moist climates experience more downpours than drier climates. Rainfall is the only form of precipitation that occurs everywhere. Sun warms the water of different water bodies and leads it to rise upwards into the sky as water vapor. Rain is also the most important element in the water cycle and rain more or less controls the entire water cycle. The warm air helps to lift the moisture of the atmosphere and allows clouds to form. With time, more and more water droplets evaporate, making the cloud heavy. Once the cloud is at its heaviest, the same water in the clouds ends up falling on Earth as rain.
If you want to know more, then don't forget to check freezing rain facts and where does rain come from.
Facts About Rainfall
In some places, rain cannot wet the ground. We know these kinds of showers as phantom rain. Phantom rain is typical in very hot places such as deserts. The places become so hot that the rain fails to reach the ground and the raindrops evaporate due to the heat. Phantom rain is also referred to as invisible rain.
Among the different rain types, raining fish is perhaps the most uncommon. A place called Yoro in Honduras experiences this fish rain quite often. The fishes are not local but are brought in by the sea tornadoes.
Just like precipitation on Earth, precipitation takes place on many planets. Here it's a result of the water cycle, but in Jupiter, it rains diamonds. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to the intensity of carbon on the planet and the lack of moisture.
Rain helps to reduce the temperature in the world. In tropical places, where the heat is unbearable, rainfall helps in lowering the temperature, but it also increases the moisture levels of the cold air. Therefore, rainfall varies from time to time in tropical places.
Over the latest century because of modernization and technology, there is now such a thing as artificial rain. Artificial rainfall is made with the help of dry ice. Dry ice can make cumulus clouds that can pour down on Earth. Even though the process is quite expensive and requires a lot of effort, if it works properly we can say goodbye to droughts.
In the same way, too much rainfall can be severely harmful. Cyclonic rainfall is the main reason for flooding in low-lying areas. This logging of water is dangerous for agriculture as it can destroy an entire year's crops in one go. This is why the intensity of rain is equally important. Weather departments spend many hours finding out the correct type of rainfall for regions so that they can send out warnings if needed. The type of this form of precipitation can be divided into many types, some of which are given below:
Relief rainfall. This type of rainfall occurs only in hilly or mountainous areas and is quite common in places like Scotland, Wales, and other surrounding areas of Europe. Relief rainfall occurs when the warm moist air from the Atlantic ocean moves upward, it hits on mountains that help the water vapor to rise, and once the air starts to rise, it cools down. This cold air condenses with height as temperature reduces and becomes droplets which later forms clouds and falls back on the hills of Europe as relief rainfall. This kind of rainfall creates a very dry condition, popularly known as a rain shadow. The other name of relief rainfall is Orographic Rainfall. It's called orographic rainfall because the air only starts to condense when it has reached above the mountains.
Convectional rainfall. Occurring mostly for a very short period, conventional rainfall is the most common type of rainfall. The formation of cumulus clouds is very common during this type of rainfall. Convectional rainfall occurs when the warm air rises to the atmosphere. After a while, this warm air expands, creating cumulus clouds. Continuous formation of cumulus clouds can result in rainfall. Convectional rainfall is common in tropical areas as it requires the air to be hot or at least warm. Places like the Amazon forest experience convectional rainfall most often than other places.
Frontal rainfall. This type of rainfall occurs as a result of cyclonic activity. A storm that starts occurring in a water body and gains power with time always accompanies cyclonic or frontal rainfall. These kinds of storms are one of the main reasons for coastal property destruction. Especially places like Bangladesh and the eastern Indian coast, which are both affected by cyclonic rainfall every year. Frontal rainfall is one of the most dangerous kinds of rainfall that affects a large number of people, especially fishermen. Cyclones are quite common in tropical areas. Climate change has made the occurrence of cyclones even more frequent, causing more and more frontal rainfall.
The Science Behind Rain
Rain results from the water cycle and the hydrological cycle occurs because of the continuous evaporation and condensation of surface water. The main captain of this cycle is the sun. The heat of the sun allows water from oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers to evaporate. As a result, the water vapor from these water bodies, along with moisture droplets from snows and glaciers, rises upwards with the help of the air currents of the atmosphere.
As the air rises toward the sky, the temperature of the atmosphere drops. This helps to release most of the heat from the air. When the air cools down, it easily condenses in that atmospheric pressure. The condensed air, later on, gathers together in an air mass to form clouds. These clouds can move around the entire globe with the help of air currents. Therefore, it's not always necessary for the cloud to drain where it has formed. Sometimes clouds move 1000 mi (1600 km). Then, when the cloud is too heavy to hold up, it pours down on us as droplets. These droplets can be of several shapes. We scientifically know this form of precipitation as liquid precipitation or rain, and that mostly occurs in warm and tropical regions. Similarly, places that are below zero degrees experience snowfall instead of rainfall.
Rain is usually basic with a pH level of five, but when the pH level of rain reaches below four, that rainfall is known as acid rain, because of the acidic nature of the droplets. The main reason for acid rain is pollution. Some chemicals found in these polluting gases react with the droplets of the cloud to form nitric acid and sulfuric acid. These acids combine with the water droplets to make them acidic.
Even though acid rain contains a lot of corrosive acids, they aren't very harmful to the skin. A typical reaction is a severe rash on the skin, but usually nothing long-term. It's important to realize, however, there are serious concerns relating to acid rain, as records show people who have been exposed to acidic precipitation regularly can experience long-lasting health problems.
Is rain necessary?
The farmers of most third-world countries depend very much on rain. Rain is the only way of irrigation in most rural parts of India and surrounding Southeastern countries; therefore, the entire food supply of these people depends on rain. The quality of the soil depends on the amount and type of rainfall. Similarly, many other important factors of irrigation depend on rainfall.
Rain is also responsible for the change in landscape. Rain results in erosion, and that helps to change the landscape of the area. Precipitation such as rain also helps in weathering. It softens the soil by infusing more moisture into it, and new formations are created through this process. The erosion of soil that was brought in by rain created the famous Birling Gaps of the United Kingdom.
Rain also reduces air pollution. Precipitation of any kind helps to settle down the dust particles in the air, improving its quality. Lastly, rainfall is very therapeutic. People have often said that the warm, soothing aroma of rain falling on the ground gives them a sense of understanding. This smell is typically known as petrichor.
As stated earlier, the intensity of rainfall is not limited to just one type. Rain varies and has many types of rain falls. Check out several other types of rain that occur frequently. It's important to know the type of rainfall as it indicates several factors given below:
Heavy rainfall: The intensity of the rain varies from place to place. Some places experience rainfall throughout the year, while other places remain dry. The intensity of the rainfall depends on the amount of moisture the cloud contains. If the cloud is dark and very heavy, it is going to result in a heavy pour or heavy rainfall. When it rains higher than 0.18 in (4.7 mm) per hour, we can call it heavy rain. When the rainfall is recorded 0.31 in (8 mm) per hour, then the intensity of that rainfall is very high, and so it's also considered very heavy rain.
Light or Moderate rainfall: If the intensity of the rainfall is between 0.098 in (2.5 mm) to 0.17 in (4.5 mm) per hour, then it can be labeled as moderate rainfall. Lastly, anything below 0.098 in (2.5 mm) is considered light rain.
Sometimes light rain doesn't stop after one downpour. Usually, during low pressure, there is a tendency for continuous light rain. We can also find it during monsoon seasons. Light showers can be identified with stratus clouds in the sky.
Stratus cloud is the cloud that has a uniform base and lies quite low. Their formation depends on the rising thermal capacity. Stratus clouds don't always bring rain. If the cloud is not very heavy, it might not pour. Thus we can say that stratus cloud is found only in places where their sun heats the local air, so the temperature of this place is quite high. This usually happens in green countries like Columbia, as it experiences the maximum amount of precipitation.
The northern hemisphere receives more rainfall every year. The reason behind this is that the northern hemisphere has lots of tropical places where hot air can easily condense and come down quite fast. Such green country is also known as wet countries mostly in the northern hemisphere. The wettest places of this world also exist in the northern hemisphere. The wettest is Mawsynram, a small northern-east Indian village.
The Effects Of Rain
Precipitation has both positive and negative effects on society. As stated earlier, too much rain or continuous cloudburst can cause floods where people can lose lives. Similarly, too light rain or drought has led to people suffering from dehydration or starvation due to food shortages.
Here are some positive and negative effects of rain.
Rain helps to balance our lives through its process. Not only life but the soil also gains replenishment. In some places, rain is also used to make energy. A major source of fresh water on Earth and the water that we get from rain is the clearest form of water on Earth (except acid rain). In some places, people drink rainwater.
There are some negative effects of rain as well. As stated earlier, heavy rainfall can cause floods which can be very dangerous. More than a thousand people lose their lives in floods. They are also a result of global warming. Excessive rainfall can also lead to soil erosion that causes terrible landslides. It can damage the quality of life for people in hilly areas. At times, people lose connection with the rest of the world due to landslides. They remain stuck till the road is repaired, which might take months and even years.
Driving in the rain is also not advisable. There have been several accidents where the car has lost control of its fiction because of heavy rain and thunder. Hence it is not advisable to drive while there is a thunderstorm outside.
Rainfalls vary from place to place and time to time, but their effects on Earth never change!
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