Precipitation, Types, Examples, Classification, Precipitation Reaction (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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In science, precipitation is the mechanism behind the condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere that falls down under the influence of gravity like rain and snow

What is Precipitation?

  • It is a chemical reaction in which you mix two solutions of two ionic substances and a solid ionic substance (a precipitate) form.
  • For example, precipitation occurs when a part of the atmosphere saturates itself with water vapour and when the right temperature comes it condenses and precipitates. The two processes which make the air saturated are the cooling of air molecules and the addition of water vapour.

Types of Precipitation

  • Precipitation plays a major part in the water cycle as it is the one which brings in the deposit of freshwater on the planet. It can be divided into three categories depending upon the form such as:
    • Liquid water
    • Ice
    • Liquid water freezing when comes in contact with the surface.

Examples of Precipitation

  • Depending on the forms we could witness precipitation in various forms:
  • In Liquid Form precipitation occurs in:
    • Drizzle
    • Rain
  • When the above comes in contact with the air mass in subfreezing temperature it becomes
    • Freezing Rain
    • Freezing Drizzle
  • The frozen forms of precipitated water include:
    • Snow
    • Ice Needles
    • Hail
    • Graupel
    • Sleet

Classification of Precipitation

Precipitation of water vapour can be classified into different things and have different methods of formation and few of them are


  • When water droplets combine each other to form bigger water droplets and when water droplets freeze onto a crystal of ice, this process is known as coalescence. The rate of the fall is considered to be negligible, that is the reason behind the clouds not falling of the sky.
  • Precipitation is only possible when those will form into larger drops by coalescence by the help of turbulence in which water droplets collide, producing even larger droplets. Eventually, the droplets descend and become heavy with coalescence and resistance and finally fall as rain.
A Raindrop Hits


  • Snow crystals form when the temperature freezes the tiny cloud droplets and because water droplets are more in number than ice crystals, the crystals can grow in size at the expense of water droplets as the water vapour causes the droplets to evaporate.
  • These droplets fall from the atmosphere due to their mass as snowflakes.
Snow Flakes


Like other precipitation techniques, hail forms in the storm clouds when supercooled droplets come in contact with dust and dirt. The storm՚s updraft blows the hailstones up and lifted again after the updraft dissipates.

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