Research Highlights | Published:

Atmospheric science: Rain on physics

Nature volume 459, pages 10361037 (25 June 2009) | Download Citation


By observing approximately 64,000 raindrops, researchers have determined that some can fall by as much as an order of magnitude faster than their terminal velocity — the limit at which the downwards force of gravity equals the upwards force of drag.

Fernando García-García at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and his colleagues show that when large drops break up, the fragments continue to move at the faster speed of the larger parent drop for some time before slowing down to their own terminal speeds.

The results could improve the representation of rain physics in weather models.

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