Q:

What is rainfall?

A:

Quick Answer

Rainfall is the result of water vapor condensing and precipitating, forming droplets that fall from clouds due to gravity. It is an important part of the water cycle.

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What is rainfall?
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Full Answer

Condensation occurs when the air cools and becomes saturated. Clouds form when water condenses on particles in the air. The air can be cooled in several ways. Adiabatic cooling is caused by rising and expanding air. Conductive cooling occurs when air is affected by a colder surface. Radiative cooling is caused by infrared radiation, and evaporative cooling occurs when the air is saturated due to evaporation.

All of these forms of cooling can lead to the saturation of the air, condensation and precipitation. These processes may lead to the formation of clouds and water droplets, which leave the air as rainfall.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does convectional rainfall occur?

    A:

    Convectional rainfall occurs when the sun's heat causes water vapor at the Earth's surface to rise up into clouds. When the cloud is heavy enough, rain falls.

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  • Q:

    What place on Earth receives the least rainfall?

    A:

    The driest location on Earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile. This area receives on average less than 0.004 inches of rainfall per year, as it sits in the rain shadow region west of the Andes. Within the Atacama Desert, the abandoned mining town of Yungay is driest.

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  • Q:

    What causes cyclonic rainfall?

    A:

    Cyclonic rainfall, also known as frontal rain, is caused when two air masses of different temperatures meet. Warm air and cool air don´t mix, as they have different densities. As the warm air rises over the heavier cool air, it cools and creates a front; clouds form and produce rain.

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  • Q:

    What country has the highest rainfall?

    A:

    The country with the highest rainfall worldwide is the South American nation of Colombia. Based on yearly average precipitation measurements collected between 2010 and 2014, Colombia received an average annual rainfall of 127.6 inches as reported by the World Bank Group. The African nation of Sao Tome and Principe is a close second with average annual rainfalls during the same time period reported as 126 inches.

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