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Study: Summer rain more likely over drier soils

September 21, 2012

DARK SKIES — Rain from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac fall on a Poinsett Co. field. (Photo by Kevin Quinn)

Where does it rain on a hot day’s afternoon? New satellite data show that soil moisture plays an important role. It influences precipitation in a way which is quite different from what models have predicted so far.

Frontal rain systems, moving from the ocean across the land, can lead to rain over large areas. Summer showers, which frequently occur at the end of a hot day, are often restricted to a rather small region. This kind of rain is a completely different phenomenon. Instead of moving across the land, the air moves from the hot ground upwards, forming clouds high up in the air, and finally leading to rain. This is called “convective precipitation.” READ MORE …   


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