Environmental Studies

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By John P. Rafferty

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Of the water vapour that is carried at all heights across a given region by the winds, only a small percentage is converted into precipitation and reaches the ground in that area. In deep and extensive cloud systems, the conversion is more efficient, but even in thunderclouds the quantities of rain and hail released amount to only some 10 percent of the total moisture entering the storm. In the measurement of precipitation, it is necessary to distinguish between the amount—defined as the depth of precipitation (calculated as though it were all rain) that has fallen at a given point during a specified interval of time— and the rate or intensity, which specifies the depth of water that has fallen at a point during a particular interval 30 7 Climate 7 of time.

The radiation exchanged between the atmosphere and Earth’s surface and the eventual loss to space is in the form of long waves. 5-μm band and in the greater than 11-μm range, where vapour is either partly or wholly opaque. As noted above, much of the radiation that is absorbed in the atmosphere is emitted back to Earth, and the surface receipt of long waves, primarily from water vapour and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is slightly more than twice the direct receipt of solar radiation at the surface.

NOAA Rain and Freezing Rain Liquid waterdrops with diameters greater than those of drizzle constitute rain. 2 inch) in diameter because they become unstable when larger than this and break up during their fall. The terminal velocities of raindrops at ground level range from 2 metres per second (7 feet per second) for the smallest to about 10 metres per second (30 feet per second) for the largest. 08 inch), they become increasingly flattened by aerodynamic forces.

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