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PPL » Meteorology » Precipitation

8.24 Precipitation

8.24.2 Define:

(a) precipitation;

  • When water in it’s liquid or solid form gets to a point it can no longer be supported by the atmosphere and falls to earth it becomes precipitation.
  • This includes rain, drizzle, snow and sleet.

(b) virga.

  • Precipitation only involves droplets that contact the ground.
  • Water droplets that evaporate before they hit the called are known as virga.


8.24.4 Describe the following types of precipitation:

(a) rain;


Liquid water droplets of large size, falling with uniform intensity from all levels of stratiform cloud.

(b) drizzle;


Generally confined to low level cloud consisting of fine, droplets close together.

(c) snow;


Branch or star shaped ice crystals.

(d) sleet;

Combination of snow and rain.

(e) hail.


Ball-like pieces of ice associated with developed cumulonimbus clouds. Consist of layered ice of both rime and clear variety.


8.24.6 State the difference between large drizzle and small rain droplets.

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