Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Why Does It Rain?

Name: Drama
Status: student
Grade: K-3
Location: FL
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
Why does it rain?


Replies:
Drama,

When water is heated it evaporates into the air. You cannot see the water in the air, but sometimes you can feel it (especially when it is hot outside). Have you ever noticed that on some warm days it is really humid (sticky and sweaty) and other warm days it feels dry?

You might have also noticed that in the morning, when the air is cool, you might find dew or mist on the leaves and grass. This occurs because cold air cannot hold much of moisture.

There is a limit to the amount of water that air can hold. This limit is known as the saturation limit (or dew point). When the air is completely saturated and cannot hold any more water, then it comes down as rain (and leaves all that heat in the air).

Up in Vermont, where we live, we love the rain. It turns the ground all muddy and it is a lot of fun to play in the mud!

Les

--- Leslie Kanat, Ph.D. Professor of Geology Johnson State College


Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory