We all know that rain comes from clouds. Too much you get the flooding that is happening in Houston right now. Too little, and you get devastating fires that cover thousands of acres across the West.
We were driving to school the other day, it was raining a little, and my kids asked me where rain comes from. I could have said it was tears from heaven, thunder is angels bowling, and there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There are a ton of rainbows (if they can be weighed) here in Maui. Been looking for the gold but no luck so far.
But I didn’t. I gave them what I knew. Basically nothing, other than they came from clouds. So when I got home, I wanted to know so I wouldn’t look dumb if they asked me again.
Here is what you can tell kids if they ask. If you don’t care, then just watch the video barefoot, and enjoy.
The process starts as evaporation. This is the same process you use to get distilled water. Water evaporates, leaving any solids or impurities behind, and becomes a gas which rises above the earth’s surface. An example is ocean water. The salt is left behind. When it reaches a certain height, the gas cools and forms water droplets. Those droplets bump together until about a million of them bond, then they become a water droplet.
This is called condensation. When they reach a certain size and weight, gravity pulls them down to earth as rain, snow, or hail. Depending on the cloud size and density, it will determine how many droplets will fall.
This is called precipitation. This is the third cycle of rainfall, and what we experience as rain. As the rain falls, it collects in ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
This is called collection. And it is here that the whole cycle starts all over again.
Just remember evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. If you can’t remember those four words, then keep your mouth shut.
Now you know what to say to a kid, so you won’t sound so dumb. If they start to ask harder questions about it, just pretend you are deaf like I do. Or turn up the radio real loud and tell them it’s your favorite song. But I can only listen to Despacito so many times.
“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of the wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”. Henry Beston.