Shop Windows to the Universe

Check out the fun Earth science related bumper stickers in our online store! Express yourself!
This image shows raindrops falling into a puddle.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Rain

Raindrops form when tiny water droplets collide together in clouds to form bigger ones. When they get too heavy, rain falls out of the clouds. Rain is more than 5mm in diameter. The types of clouds that rain falls out of are nimbostratus and cumulonimbus. Very small raindrops are called drizzle. Drizzle falls out of stratus clouds or stratocumulus clouds. The place in the United States where it rains the most days in one year is on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

Have you ever noticed an earthy smell in the air before it rains? The odor may be from bacteria in soil. The bacteria release gases. These gases are pushed into the air as rain falls on the soil. Winds cause the smell in the air to get to you before the rain.

Acid rain is a type of rain that is made from air pollution. This rain can cause harmful affects to our ecosystems.


Last modified October 2, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Nimbostratus

Nimbostratus clouds are part of the Low Cloud group. They are dark gray with a ragged base. Nimbostratus clouds produce rain or snow. Sometimes they cover the whole sky and you can't see the edges of...more

Cumulonimbus

Cumulonimbus clouds belong to the Clouds with Vertical Growth group. They are also known as thunderstorm clouds. A cumulonimbus cloud can grow up to 10km high. At this height, high winds make the top...more

Drizzle

Drizzle is very light rain; the water drops that make up drizzle are smaller than rain drops. Drizzle can be so light that only a millimeter of water falls to the Earth's surface in one day. It is produced...more

Stratus

Stratus clouds are part of the Low Cloud group. They are gray and can cover most or all of the sky (like a big blanket). Stratus clouds sometimes produce light mist or drizzle. ...more

Stratocumulus

Stratocumulus clouds belong to the Low Cloud group. These clouds are low, lumpy, and gray. These clouds can look like cells under a microscope - sometimes they line up in rows and other times they spread...more

Wind

Wind is moving air. Warm air rises, and cool air comes in to take its place. This movement creates the winds around the globe. Winds move at different speeds and have different names based on their speed....more

Acid Rain

Have you ever heard of acid rain? Acid rain is what happens when some types of air pollution is washed out of the sky by rain. Sometimes, the pollution can be washed out by snow, sleet, hail, mist or fog,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA