NASA - New GPM Video Dissects the Anatomy of a Raindrop

NASA - New GPM Video Dissects the Anatomy of a Raindrop

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.

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NASA - On Top of the Smokies, All Covered in Light Rain--The Real Story of Precipitation in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

NASA - On Top of the Smokies, All Covered in Light Rain--The Real Story of Precipitation in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

If you walk into a cloud at the top of a mountain with a cup to slake your thirst, it might take a while for your cup to fill. The tiny, barely-there droplets are difficult to see, and for scientists they, along with rain and snow, are among the hardest variables to measure in Earth Science, says Ana Barros, professor of engineering at Duke University. As part of the Science Team for NASA's Precipitation Measurement Missions (PMM) that measure rainfall from space, Barros and her research team trekked into the Great Smoky Mountains and other areas of the southern Appalachian Mountains, to learn more about where, when and how rain falls in the rugged terrain. What they found was eye-opening: much of the water people counted on falls as light rain, and no one knew about it.

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