Rain

Most people probably know what rain is. But for a quick refresher, rain is liquid water that falls from clouds. Have you ever wondered what causes it? I can tell you in the following.

Torrential rain on a Greek building
Torrential rain on a Greek building

Formation of Rain:

Rain drops are formed inside clouds, when water vapor condenses into a liquid state. It then falls from the clouds in a process called precipitation.

Role in the Water Cycle:

Rain is a major component in the Water Cycle, the process that describes the continuous motion of water on Earth. It delivers the most fresh water in the world. The cycle of rain goes from falling from the clouds during precipitation, condensing on the ground, and then evaporating and rising up to the clouds once more, where the process begins anew.

Types of Rain:

Though the most common rain is in the form of simple water droplets, there are a few other variants. Freezing rain is one variant. Freezing rain is rain formed at temperatures below zero. It becomes supercooled during it’s descent to the surface. Due to this, it immediately assumes a solid form when it makes contact with a solid object. This is very troublesome to roads, cars, and buildings, as it instantly freezes upon landing. Although it can cause trouble for those things, perhaps the most danger it poses is to airplanes. If rain of this type is high enough in concentration, it can alter the shape of the plane, making it less streamlined or flight-worthy. In extreme cases, it can even significantly change the weight of the plane. Although generally considered the same thing as rain, drizzle is another variant. Drizzle is essentially rain that falls lightly and with far less intensity. Drizzle is also considerably smaller.

Relationship with Environment:

Rain, although bothersome to most people, is essential to life on Earth. Without rainfall, plants would not have enough water for photosynthesis, and in turn would no longer produce oxygen, and eventually die. Rain brings additional water to lakes and oceans.

Detrimental Effects:

Even though rain is critical to life on Earth, it still causes problems. Rain can cause the formation of puddles, and in turn cause unsuspecting people to slip and fall. Puddles also pose hazardous to drivers if not careful, as the slip-and-slide effect can make a vehicle veer off-course. Torrential rain is intense and heavy rain, and can significantly drench people and objects.

Rainbows:

File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg
A double rainbow

Have you ever wondered what causes rainbows to appear in the sky. Well, it’s not related to leprechauns whatsoever. Rainbows are the result of sunlight reflecting off rain puddles and into the sky. When the white light of the Sun touches the water, it breaks up into all the colors of the light spectrum when reflected, prominently displaying them in a band of light in the sky.

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