Process of Rainfalls

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

Rains are very important to man's life on earth. They bring moisture to the land, and thus, help crops to grow, bear fruits; and at the end, they prolong man's life on earth. When the Prophet Elijah prayed God to close the door of heaven for three years, famine and drought visited the face of Israel. And that dealt heavy blows of death on the Israelites who, at that time, were torn between the worship of God and of Baal.

The havoc caused by lack of rains, illustrates how indispensable rains are to mankind. Going further, on this topic, it is good to note that, this process which I am about describing here, is not my area of specialization. So I am only going to say things as the experts in this area of human endeavor say it. The good news is that, the topic, the process of rainfall, is easy to grasp because it is something we already know about.

According to Frank C. Starmer, "rainfall is a type of precipitation that occurs when water vapour in the atmosphere condenses into droplets that can no longer be suspended in the air". Let me use this illustration, if you hold out your palm over an open boiling pot, the vapour oozing from the pot will soon collect on your palm; condense on your palm; and drop as water from your palm.

That is precipitation. That is rainfall when it takes place at the atmosphere. According to Meteorologists precipitation takes place when any mass of moist air comes in contact with cold air in the atmosphere. This coming together of moist air and cold air causes condensation. At the point of this condensation, the moisture forms droplets (drops) that would eventually become rains, or form crystals that would on the other hand become snows.

In the example above, the vapour oozing from your pot is like the cloud you see in the atmosphere. Like the vapour, the cloud is only air, it has no weight as such. That is why it can go up so high in the atmosphere. But once it gets larger, condenses, and becomes heavy that it can no longer move up in the air, then it begins to fall as rain.

From another perspective, a Microbiologist, Jay Hardy said that sky people once thought of as "sterile void", in reality, is full of bacteria which are very important for watering of plants and for the good of man's life on earth. In explaining the process of "biological precipitation cycle" Hardy said that the process starts "when bacteria form colonies on the surface of plants".

These plants are living plants on the ground, and not on the sky; of course, you know there is no plant in the sky. However, when these colonies are formed on plants, "Winds will then sweep the bacteria into the atmosphere, and ice crystals form around them" in the atmosphere. "Water molecules clump onto the crystals, making them bigger and bigger".

It is at this point that "The ice crystals turn into rain or snow and fall to the ground". And their falling to the ground is the natural phenomenon called rainfall. Hardy explains that even if "one bacterium lands on a plant, it can multiply and form colonies, thus causing the cycle to repeat itself over and over."

And the many times this repeats are the many times there are rainfalls. Be those processes as they may be, they explain the processes of rain formation from two perspectives. For want of space, we shall take it from there in the next edition.

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