What Is Precipitation

What Is Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Measurement of Precipitation | Rain Gauge12 min read

What Is Precipitation?

Atmospheric Water Vapor is condensed and product which is in the form of Rainfall,  Snowfall, Dew and frost is fall on the earth surface under gravitational force is Known as Precipitation.

There are 3 types of precipitation that occur on earth are Cyclonic Precipitation, Convective Precipitation, and Orographic Precipitation.

The following things are must for Precipitation,

  1. Moisture is present in the atmosphere
  2. Sufficient nuclei are present for condensation
  3. Weather conditions are good for the Condensation process
  4. The product of water vapor is must reach the surface of the earth.

Types of Precipitation

Following are the three basic types of precipitation,

  1. Cyclonic Precipitation.
  2. Convective Precipitation.
  3. Orographic Precipitation.

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1. Cyclonic Precipitation

Cyclonic precipitation is from when lifting of an air mass by pressure difference. When there is the formation of a low-pressure area, air from the other surrounding spaces flows to the low-pressure zone.

It is phenomenon forces warm and colder air to meet. As warm air is lighter in comparison to colder ones it rises above the colder air. Then the warmer air starts cooling beyond saturation point which results in heavy rain. Such rainfall is called Cyclonic Rainfall.

The cyclonic precipitation itself is categorized into two types,

  • Frontal Precipitation
  • Non-Frontal Precipitation

Frontal Precipitation

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Cold Front

The collision of two different air masses, due to contrasting densities and temperatures, results in condensation and precipitation at the surface of contact. This surface of contact is named as Front or Frontal Zone, whereas the precipitation occurring in that zone is called Frontal Precipitation.

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Warm Front

If cold air driving out warm air then the front is called Cold Front and if the warm air mass overlaps the retreating cold air mass, it can be called as ‘Warm Front. Similarly Stationary Front is the result of both air masses are drawn towards a low-pressure area in a simultaneous way.

Intense Precipitation is the result of the Cold Front spread over a shorter area as compared to the Warm front which is spread over a larger area but has a low intensity of precipitation.


Non Frontal Precipitation

This phenomenon occurs when the moving mass of cold air meets the stationary warm air mass. As a result of which the lighter warm air rises up and reaches the saturation point.

The saturation point of lighter warm air causes precipitation known as Non-Frontal Precipitation. It is the type of Cyclonic Precipitation.

This process differs from Frontal Precipitation in some sense hence categorized as the different type of Cyclonic Precipitation.


2. Convective Precipitation

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Conventional Precipitation

Convective Precipitation or Convectional Rainfall generally occurs in equatorial areas. The surface areas in these zones get heated frequently and constantly because of the sun’s heat.

Which in turn the air near the surface gets hated and spreads. Heating also makes the air lighter hence it tends to rise up. The air starts cooling as it moves up and reaches its saturation limit, resulting in precipitation.

This precipitation is called Convention Precipitation, which occurs in the tropics that too on a hot day. Rising vertical velocities of air currents are hazardous to aircraft. Its intensity ranges from light showers to cloud bursts.


3. Orographic Precipitation

Orographic Precipitation occurs when moist mass of air, strikes natural topographic barriers. These barriers are like mountains, hills, etc which causes the air to rise up, condense and then precipitate. Hence mountains are the sites of higher precipitation than plain lands.

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Orographic Precipitation

The precipitation is concentrated on the windward side, the side where striking occurs. Whereas, the leeward side gets a very little amount of rain, which results in the formation of a rain shadow region.

The precipitation occurs in the form of steady rainfall showers. For example- In India Winds occurring from the Bay of Bengal are heavily loaded with moisture strike the southern slope of the Himalayas, resulting in intense rains.

The degree of precipitation is enough to get the maximum average annual rainfall of 1270 cm near the place known as Mawsynram near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. Also, the place called  Agumbe In the Western Ghats of South India gets an orographic rainfall of about 900 cm.


Forms of Precipitation

The following are the Precipitation forms,

  1. Rain
  2. Snow
  3. Drizzle
  4. Glaze
  5. Sleet
  6. Hail

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1. Rain

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Rain

Rain is the main form of precipitation in India. Rainfall is the term used for precipitation in form of the water drops.

The size of the water drop is Larger than the 0.5mm and less than the 6mm. The Range of the Drop is Between 0.5mm to 6mm.

The Rainfall is classified based on it’s intensity:-

I. Light rain

The intensity of the rain trace to 2.5mm/hr. then is called the Light Rain.

II. Moderate Rain

The intensity is between 2.5mm/hr. to 7.5mm/hr. is called the Moderate Rain.

III. Heavy Rain

The intensity is greater than 7.5mm/hr. is call the Heavy Rain.


2. Snow

Snow is the second most important form of precipitation. Snow generally consists of the ice crystal. Ice crystals are combined together and form flakes.

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Snow Fall

The density of the Fresh Snow is varying between 0.06 to 0.15 gm/Cubic cm. The average density of the snow is Generally assumed to be 0.1gm/Cubic cm.

In India, Himalayan is only region where the snow is fall.


3. Drizzle

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Drizzle

Numbers of water droplets are fall in the form of fine sprinkles is know as the Drizzle.

The Size of the droplets is less than 0.5mm and the intensity of the Droplets is less than 1mm/hr.


4. Glaze

What Is Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Measurement of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Glaze

If the temperature of the ground is around 0* Celsius and the rain or the drizzle are come to contact with the ground the water droplets are freeze and coating with ice is known as Glaze.

It is also known as Freezing Rain.


5. Sleet

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Sleet

The Rainfall is pass through the sub-freezing temperature of the atmosphere the raindrops are freezing in form of transparent grains is known as sleet.


6. Hail

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Hail

When the Snow is falling in the form of irregular pellets and a lump of the ice is known as Hail. The size of the Hail is more than 8mm. Generally in Violent thunderstorms, Hails occurred.


Measurement of Precipitation

Rainfall

Rainfall is generally measured in the form of depth. Rainfall is calculated in the form of how much water depth is falls on the earth’s area. Thus if the 1cm of rainfall falls over the catchment of 1sq.km it represents that the volume of water is 100000 cubic meters.

The Instrument which is used to collect and measure the Rainfall is Known as Rain Gauge. Rain gauge is consisted one open cylinder vessel to catch the rainfall in it. The exposure condition of the rain gauge affects the rainfall catch.

For Accurate Data collection the rain gauge is set in a standard-setting position in the following manner:-

  1. Rain gauge is set on the Level and open ground and perfect horizontal position.
  2. Rain gauge is Put as near to the ground to reduce the wind effect but also prevent splashing and flooding.
  3. Rain gauge is put in the open fenced area of 5.5m * 5.5m.

There are two types of Raines

  1. Non-recording Rain gauge
  2. Recording Rain gauge

Read More: Types of Water Distribution System


1. Non-recording Rain gauge

Symon’s Rain gauge is the extensively used Non-recording Rain gauge in India. This type of rain gauge has a 12.7cm diameter to collect the rainfall which is connected with a funnel.

The rim of this collector is set in a horizontal plane at a height of 30.5cm above the ground. Rainfall is caught through the funnel in receiving vessel.  Both funnel and vessel are mounted in a metallic container.

The water is collecting in the vessel is measure with a suitable graduated measuring glass with high accuracy of 0.1mm. The rainfall is measured at 8:30 am (IST)  and record as everyday rainfall.  The capacity of Symon’s rain gauge is 10cm only so in the heavy rainfall condition the rainfall is measure more frequently and entered.


2. Recording Rain Gauges

Recording rain gauges are used for continuous plots of the rainfall against time with valuable data of intensity and duration of rainfall.

Types of Recording Rain Gauge

  1. Tipping Bucket type
  2. Weighing Bucket type
  3. Natural Syphon type
  4. Telemetering Rain gauge
  5. Radar Measurement of Rainfall

1. Tipping Bucket Type

Tipping Bucket type of rain gauge is adopted for use by the US weather Bureau. The size of the rain gauge is 30.5cm. The rainfall is caught in the funnel and falls on one of the pairs of small buckets.

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge

This pair of the bucket is set so systematically so that when in one bucket of 0.25mm of rainfall collects it tip down and another one is brought in position. After tipping the bucket the water is collected in a storage can. The electrically driven pen traces a record on a Clockwork-driven chart with each tipping.

The water which is store in the can is also measured at regular intervals to get total rainfall and also for the check. The tipping bucket gives the data which is in form of the intensity of rainfall.


2. Weighing Bucket Type

What Is Precipitation | Cyclonic Precipitation | Type of Precipitation | Rain Gauge
Weighing Bucket Type

In weighing Bucket type of rain gauge the rainfall was caught from the funnel and it empty in the bucket which mounted on a weighing scale. The weighing bucket is recorded on a clock-work-driven chart. Weighing bucket-type rain gauge gives the mass curve of rainfall. (Intensity and Duration).


FAQs

What does precipitation mean?

The phenomenon of condensation of water vapor, forming the product in the form of Rainfall,  Snowfall, Dew, and frost falls on the earth’ssurface under the action of gravitational force is Known as Precipitation.

How is precipitation important to weather?

Importance of Precipitation to Weather:
Precipitation fulfills the requirement of water for all living beings on earth. Precipitation is itself an important part of the water cycle. Even a slight disturbance in this system can affect the ecological cycle adversely, stating the importance of precipitation to weather.

What is precipitation in hydrology?

PRECIPITATION IN HYDROLOGY
In Hydrology, Precipitation is the term used for denoting all forms of moisture reaching the earth’s surface after originating from the clouds. It is the most important part of the hydrologic cycle, having the significance of running the environmental parameters.

At what precipitation does it rain?

1 When the intensity of the rain trace to 2.5mm/hr. then is called the Light Rain.
2. The intensity is between 2.5mm/hr. to 7.5mm/hr for Moderate Rain.
3. And if the intensity is greater than 7.5mm/hr. then it is called the Heavy Rain.

What is precipitation in simple words?

Precipitation in simple words can be explained as the process of condensation of water vapor, forming the product in the form of Rainfall,  Snowfall, Dew, and frost falls on the earth’s surface under the action of gravitational force.

What are types of precipitation?

Precipitation types are,
1. Cyclonic Precipitation.

2. Convective Precipitation.
3. Orographic Precipitation.

Frontal Precipitation

The collision of two different air masses, due to contrasting densities and temperatures, results in condensation and precipitation at the surface of contact. This surface of contact is named as Front or Frontal Zone, whereas the precipitation occurring in that zone is called Frontal Precipitation.

Cyclonic Rainfall

phenomenon forces warm and colder air to meet. As warm air is lighter in comparison to colder ones it rises above the colder air. Then the warmer air starts cooling beyond saturation point which results in heavy rain. Such rainfall is called Cyclonic Rainfall.


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Post Contents What Is Precipitation?Types of Precipitation1. Cyclonic Precipitation2. Convective Precipitation3. Orographic PrecipitationForms of Precipitation1. Rain2. Snow3. Drizzle4. Glaze5. Sleet6. HailMeasurement of PrecipitationRainfallTypes of Recording Rain GaugeFAQsWhat does precipitation mean?How …

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