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This image shows drizzle falling from a stratocumulus cloud over the ocean.
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Image Courtesy of Kimberly Comstock/University of Washington

Drizzle

Drizzle is light precipitation that is made up of liquid water drops that are smaller than rain drops. Drizzle can be so light that only a millimeter of accumulation is measured at the Earth's surface. It is produced by stratocumulus or stratus clouds.

The water drops that make up drizzle are small (their diameter is about the same as the thickness of human hair) and because of their small size much of the drizzle evaporates before falling to the ground. Drizzle lowers visibility so it is harder to see objects in the distance when it is drizzling than on a clear day.

Drizzle commonly occurs over the ocean, where it influences the coverage and structure of clouds and how much those clouds reflect sunlight away from the surface of the Earth.

Last modified September 18, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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