What is orographic rainfall?
Credit: BERTHIER Emmanuel / hemis.fr hemis.fr Getty Images
Q:

What is orographic rainfall?

A:

Quick Answer

Orographic rainfall is rain that is produced from the lifting of moist air over a mountain. The moist air rises and cools, producing orographic clouds, which are the source of the rain. Most orographic rain falls upwind of the mountain range, with some also falling a short distance downwind. This process can produce any type of precipitation, including snow, sleet, hail or freezing drizzle.

  Know More

Full Answer

Orographic precipitation, also known as relief precipitation, typically affects mountainous areas near coastlines. When these areas are subjected to consistent winds, a wetter climate is generally present on the windward side and a drier, almost desert-like climate is present on the downwind side. This is due to orographic precipitation, which removes the wetness from the air. This dry region is also referred to as a rain shadow.

Many people do not realize that the Hawaiian Islands are affected significantly by orographic precipitation. Interior Hawaiian uplands may receive more than 100 inches of precipitation due to orographic precipitation, while coastal areas receive 20 to 30 inches of precipitation. The tops of moderately high uplands may receive as many as 475 inches of precipitation, while on the downwind side, rain shadow areas receive fewer than 20 inches of precipitation.

Learn more about Rain

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What makes it rain?

    A:

    Rain and other forms of precipitation occur when water accumulates in the clouds and falls to the ground. This occurs due to the water cycle, which continually recycles the water on Earth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where does it rain the most?

    A:

    As of 2014, the rainiest place in the world is Mawsynram, Meghalaya State, India, with about 467 inches of rainfall every year. This small mountain community is soaked during monsoon season every year, with about 90 percent of their annual rainfall falling at that time.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is convection rainfall?

    A:

    Convection rainfall is what happens when the sun heats a water source to the point that water turns into vapor and rises. By the time it reaches the condensation level, the vapor is usually cool enough to turn back into water and fall in the form of rain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is convectional rainfall?

    A:

    Convectional rainfall occurs when the warm air deflected from a landform rises and forms rain clouds. Convectional rainfall is very common in tropical areas as well as areas in southeastern England.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore