Home   »   Geography   »   Precipitation

Precipitation Meaning, Types, Formation, Examples, Diagram

Precipitation Meaning

Precipitation is the process by which water vapour condenses in the atmosphere and falls to the ground under the influence of gravity. These phenomena result in rain and snow.

Precipitation, for example, occurs when a portion of the atmosphere becomes saturated with water vapour and condenses and precipitates when the temperature is appropriate. The cooling of air molecules and the addition of water vapour are the two processes that cause the air to become saturated.

This article will be useful for competitive exams such as the UPSC exam. This article discusses Precipitation. There is a brief discussion of precipitation in this article.

Read More: Evaporation and Condensation

What is Precipitation?

Precipitation refers to all liquid and solid water particles that fall from clouds and reach the ground. Drizzle, rain, snow, snow pellets, ice crystals, and hail are examples of these particles. The primary distinction between precipitation particles and cloud particles is one of size. A typical raindrop weighs the same as one million cloud droplets. Precipitation particles have high falling speeds due to their large size and can survive the fall from the cloud to the ground.

Precipitation Formation Conditions

There are some important conditions required for the formation of Precipitation such:

  • Moisture must be present in the atmosphere.
  • There must be enough nuclei present to facilitate condensation.
  • Condensation of water vapour requires favourable weather conditions.
  • Condensation products must reach the earth.

Read More: Types of Winds

Precipitation Types

Precipitation is important in the water cycle because it is responsible for the deposit of freshwater on the planet. Depending on the form, it can be divided into three categories:

  • Water in liquid form
  • Ice Form
  • When liquid water comes into contact with the surface, it freezes.

Read More: Types of Rainfall

Precipitation Examples

We could see precipitation in a variety of forms depending on the forms:

Examples of Precipitation
In Liquid Form precipitation occurs in the Drizzle and Rain Forms.
Depending on the form, we could see precipitation in a variety of ways like Freezing Rain and Freezing Drizzle.
Frozen Precipitated water forms are Snow, Ice Needles, Hail, Graupel and Sleet.

Read More: Types of Clouds

Precipitation Forms

Water vapour precipitation can be classified into several types and has several methods of formation, some of which are listed below.

1. Rain Drops

Coalescence occurs when water droplets combine to form larger water droplets and when water droplets freeze onto a crystal of ice. The rate of fall of small droplets is considered negligible, which is why clouds do not fall from the sky.

Precipitation is only possible when these droplets coalesce with the help of turbulence, which causes water droplets to collide, producing even larger droplets. Droplets eventually descend and become heavy with coalescence and resistance, eventually falling as rain.

2. Flakes of Snow

Snow crystals form when the temperature freezes the tiny cloud droplets, and because water droplets are more numerous than ice crystals, the crystals can grow in size at the expense of water droplets as the droplets evaporate due to water vapour. Because of their mass, these droplets fall from the atmosphere as snowflakes.

Read More: List of Major Local Winds

3. Hail

Hail forms in storm clouds, like other types of precipitation, when supercooled droplets collide with dust and dirt. The hailstones are blown up by the storm’s updraft and then lifted again after the updraft passes.

Precipitation is defined in meteorology as any result of atmospheric water vapour condensation that falls under the influence of cloud gravity. Drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, ice pellets, graupel, and hail are the most common types of precipitation.

Precipitation occurs when water vapour (at 100% relative humidity) saturates a portion of the atmosphere, causing the water to condensate and ‘precipitate’ or fall. Fog and mist are colloids rather than precipitation because water vapour does not condense sufficiently to precipitate. Cooling the air or adding water vapour to the air are two processes that may contribute to air saturation. Precipitation forms when smaller droplets collide with other raindrops or ice crystals within a cloud. Showers are short, heavy bursts of rain that fall in scattered areas.

Precipitation is an important part of the water cycle and is responsible for the accumulation of much of the world’s fresh water. A total of 505,000 km3 (121,000 mi3) of water falls as precipitation each year, with 398,000 km3 (95,000 cu mi) falling over the oceans. Given the Earth’s surface area, this means that the annual precipitation is 990 millimetres (39 in) on average.

Read More: Types of Rocks

Cyclonic Precipitation

Cyclonic activity causes cyclonic rain and it occurs along the fronts of the cyclone. It is formed when two masses of air with opposing density, temperature, and humidity collide. The layer between them is known as the front. The front is divided into two parts: a warm front and a cold front.

The warm lighter wind increases slightly over the heavier cold air at the warm front. The warm air cools as it rises, and the moisture in it condenses to form clouds. This rain falls gradually over a period of hours to days.

Read More: Structure of the Atmosphere

Orographic Precipitation

The saturated air mass is forced to rise when it comes across a mountain. As the rising air expands, the temperature drops and the moisture condenses. The main feature of this type of rain is that it falls more heavily on windward slopes. When these winds reach the other slope after raining on the windward side, they drop away and their temperature rises. As a result, their ability to absorb moisture increases, and these leeward slopes remain dry and stainless. The rain-shadow area is located on the leeward side of the island.

Orographic Precipitation
Orographic Precipitation

Read More: Climate of India

Chemical Precipitation

Chemical precipitation is the process of converting a liquid to a solid by either rendering the liquid insoluble or supersaturating the solution. In an aqueous solution, the precipitation reaction occurs when two ionic bonds combine, forming an insoluble salt known as a precipitate.

Read More: Seasons of India

Precipitation UPSC

Precipitation occurs when tiny droplets of water, ice, or frozen water vapour combine to form masses that are too large to be held above the earth’s surface. They then fall to the ground as rain.

Precipitation refers to all forms of water that fall to the earth from the atmosphere. Rainfall, snowfall, hail, frost, and dew are the most common forms. Only the first two contribute significantly to the total amount of water. Precipitation intensity varies with time and space.

Other Indian Geography Topics

Seasons of India Mountains of India
Mangrove Forests in India Important Mountain Passes in India
Monsoon in India
Indus River System
Climate of India
Rivers of India
Tributaries of Ganga
National Parks in India
Important Dams in India
Wildlife Sanctuaries of India
Tiger Reserves in India
Northern Plains of India
Physiography of India
Important Lakes of India
Wetlands in India
Biodiversity in India
Natural Vegetation in India Earthquakes in India
Types of Soil in India
Ramsar Sites in India
Brahmaputra River System
Hydropower Plants in India
Nuclear Power Plants in India
Major Ports in India
Biosphere Reserves in India
Waterfalls in India

Other Fundamental Geography Topics

Solar System Types of Clouds
Structure of the Atmosphere Himalayan Ranges
Component of Environment
El Nino and La Nina
Coral Reef
Continental Drift Theory
Endogenic and Exogenic Forces
Indian Ocean Region
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean Dipole
Air Pollution
Environmental Impact Assessment
Tropical Cyclone
Western Disturbances
Types of Rocks

Sharing is caring!


What is Precipitation?

Precipitation is a natural phenomenon in which condensed water vapours fall to the earth's surface as rain, hail, snow, or sleet under the influence of gravity.

How does the temperature affect precipitation?

The temperature of a chemical reaction can influence its precipitation. The ionic compound becomes more soluble as the temperature of the solution rises. As a result, precipitate formation is reduced.

What is chemical precipitation?

Chemical precipitation converts liquid to solid by making it insoluble or supersaturating the solution. It removes ionic constituents from water by reducing solubility with counter-ions.

What is the heat of precipitation?

The change in energy that occurs when one mole of precipitate is formed from its constituent ions is referred to as the heat of precipitation.

Why do precipitation reactions occur?

When a solution containing a specific cation (a positively charged ion) is combined with another solution containing a specific anion (a negatively charged ion), an insoluble compound is frequently formed. A precipitate is a solid that separates.

What is an example of the formation of precipitate?

A chemical reaction occurs when a silver nitrate solution is poured into a sodium chloride solution, producing a white silver chloride precipitate. When the potassium iodide solution reacts with the lead(II) nitrate solution, a yellow lead(II) iodide precipitate is formed.

What is electrostatic precipitator?

An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) is a filtration device used to remove fine particles from flowing gas, such as smoke and fine dust. It is the most commonly used device for controlling air pollution.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *