P H O T O : Maria Zachariades | Untitled |
Welcome to Blog@Rainstations! I hope you enjoy this Blog, maybe learn something new or feel compelled to contribute your own experience, images, knowledge or creations around RAIN.
In this first Blog, I want to focus, with a series of basic questions, on “What is RAIN?”
By definition it is “a form of precipitation consisting of water droplets that fall from the clouds”.
This can be further clarified in terms of size of droplets. For RAIN, the drops of water are generally larger than 0.5mm in diameter. But does RAIN also encompass Freezing RAIN, Drizzle and Freezing Drizzle, where droplets are generally less than 0.5mm? This we will explore in later blogs…
Now we might picture in our minds these droplets, perhaps as teardrops. This is accurate if they are the raindrops clinging to a twig, leaf or umbrella rim at the precise moment they are about to detach themselves and fall by gravity to the ground. But as Gavin Pretor-Pinney points out in his excellent best selling book “The Cloud Spotter’s Guide”, this is indeed a misconception of a solitary raindrop. They start out life as pretty much perfect spheres and once they have grown enough fall and are distorted by the air resistance and look more like “the top half of hamburger buns”.
To zoom in, and question where do raindrops come from? Most RAIN starts out as snow. This explains why the clouds forming RAIN must be deep or sufficiently high to be cold enough for snow. It is possible to obtain small amounts of RAIN from warm clouds but the majority of RAIN falls from nimbostratus or cumulonimbus clouds. Again, here, so many more questions and ideas to explore!
But for now, to zoom in further, we enter the realms of chemistry. As it is virtually impossible for water molecules to fuse together to form the nucleus of a raindrop we are looking at the ice crystal formations as the starting point and the saving grace of the raindrop. For it is these crystal formations that act as ‘parachutes’ allowing the potential raindrops to fall at lower heights and where frictional forces do not break up the droplets which we then can individually experience in countless ways!
These are the simple yet unique, known yet misread, droplets falling on the world over, everyday, as RAIN. This I find intriguing and beautiful, and how we relate to these drops worth exploring!©