Types of Rainfall The four major types of rainfall are described as follows: Rainfall occurs when the air filled with moisture rises upward into the sky and cools down after attaining sufficient height. The cooling causes condensation which finally causes precipitation or rainfall.
- Conventional rainfall: It is caused by the thermal convection currents that are produced when the ground heats up due to insolation. In simple words, the sun heats the ground which releases heat that warms the air. The warm air rises upwards towards the sky and gets cool down when it reaches higher altitude. The cold air has less capacity to hold moisture as compared to warm air. So, the moisture undergoes condensation process and condenses into cumulus, which are called clouds.
- Frontal rainfall: Front refers to a situation when a large mass of hot air combines or meets a large mass of cold air. It causes turbulence and the upward movement of the warm air. The warm air moves upward and comes over the cold air. When the warm air cools down its moisture condenses and it forms clouds which result in frontal rainfall.
- Orographic rainfall: It is also known as relief rainfall. It occurs when an air that is full of moisture encounters a mountain range. Due to the mountain range in its path, it is forced to move upward and after reaching higher altitude it cools down which causes condensation of moisture in the air and thus it produces rain. If the air cools down too much, it results in a snowfall. Orographic or relief rainfall is commonly found in coastal regions with mountain range.
- Monsoonal rainfall: It is caused by the combined effect of sun’s heat and the Earth’s rotation that produces a band of easterly winds at 30 degrees north and south latitudes. These winds keep moving throughout the year and change direction with the seasons. The change in the direction of movement results in monsoon rains that occur in India, Southeast Asia, etc.
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