NEWTON: Rainfall Differences, Close By Locations
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Name: Jess
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: PA
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2013

How and why rainfall can differ from 8 miles apart? I know it is wind and other factors, but can you explain it more?


Even stratus rainclouds are not horizontally uniform.

Thunderstorm rainfall can be even more location dependent because of a thunderstorm's very non-horizontally uniform cumulus structure.

David R. Cook Meteorologist Atmospheric and Climate Research Program Environmental Science Division Argonne National Laboratory

Hi Jess,

Thanks for the question. Rainfall as well as other aspects of weather can differ over a distance of a few miles or less. This differences are called microclimates. Even though two areas are nearby, they could have different physical structures. For instance, one might be an open field and the other could be a valley or an urban area with skyscrapers. Yes, skyscrapers can make an urban area much more windy than a nearby open area. Other factors could be the amount of sunlight as well as the human factors such as pollution.

I hope this helps. Thanks Jeff Grell

Jess In cold fronts, thunderstorms can range in size from 3 miles across to possibly 50 miles across. The land under the thunderstorm gets rained on the land that is not directly under the thunderstorm does not get rain. That is how rainfall can differ over wide areas.

Sincere regards, Mike Stewart

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