A rainy road

A rainy road

The oceans are the chief source of rain, but lakes and rivers also contribute to it. The Sun’s heat evaporates the water. It remains in the atmosphere as an invisible vapor until it condenses, first into clouds and then into raindrops. Condensation happens when the air is cooled.

There are four main mechanisms for cooling the air to its dew point: adiabatic cooling, conductive cooling, radiational cooling, and evaporative cooling. Adiabatic cooling occurs when air rises and expands. The air can rise due to convection, large-scale atmospheric motions, or a physical barrier such as a mountain (orographic lift). Conductive cooling occurs when the air comes into contact with a colder surface, usually by being blown from one surface to another, for example from a liquid water surface to colder land. Radiational cooling occurs due to the emission of infrared radiation, either by the air or by the surface underneath. Evaporative cooling occurs when moisture is added to the air through evaporation, which forces the air temperature to cool to its wet-bulb temperature, or until it reaches saturation.

We may not be the only Planet Enjoying Rain. Through scientific evidence, we know that there are various planets that receive their share of rainfall.

When the Voyager 1 closely passed Jupiter, it heard the sounds of thunder and lightning. Therefore, we know that Jupiter’s gigantic gaseous composition is constantly subjected to lightning.

On Titan – the largest moon of Saturn, it rains liquid methane. It sounds really bizarre but over there, the lakes and rivers are composed of liquid methane itself.

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