microphysics

The Anatomy of a Raindrop

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When asked to picture the shape of raindrops, many of us will imagine water looking like tears that fall from our eyes, or the stretched out drip from a leaky faucet. This popular misconception is often reinforced in weather imagery associated with predictions and forecasts.

Raindrops are actually shaped like the top of a hamburger bun, round on the top and flat on the bottom. This new video from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission explains why.

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The Anatomy of a Raindrop

PMM Article Image

When asked to picture the shape of raindrops, many of us will imagine water looking like tears that fall from our eyes, or the stretched out drip from a leaky faucet. This popular misconception is often reinforced in weather imagery associated with predictions and forecasts.

Raindrops are actually shaped like the top of a hamburger bun, round on the top and flat on the bottom. A new video from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission explains why.

Precipitation Microphysics

Raindrop Shapes

TRMM’s Precipitation Radar (PR) is the first space-borne radar to observe rain droplet characteristics as they travel through the atmosphere. These measurements yield invaluable information on the intensity and distribution of the rain, the type of rain, the height of the storm and the altitude at which falling snow melts into rain. Estimates of the heat released into the atmosphere at different heights based on these measurements will improve models of global atmospheric circulation.

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