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Rainfall vs. Precipitation: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Rainfall is a type of precipitation that specifically refers to liquid water drops falling from clouds, while precipitation includes any form of water - liquid or solid - falling from the sky.
Rainfall vs. Precipitation

Key Differences

Rainfall is a subset of precipitation, specifically referring to the fall of water drops from clouds. Precipitation, however, is a broader term encompassing all forms of water, whether liquid or solid, that fall from the atmosphere, including snow, sleet, and hail.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
While rainfall measures only the liquid form of water reaching the ground, precipitation includes every form of water deposit from the atmosphere. Rainfall is thus a more specific term, whereas precipitation is all-encompassing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
The measurement of rainfall is typically done through rain gauges and is expressed in millimeters or inches of liquid water depth. Precipitation, on the other hand, requires different measurement techniques for its various forms, such as snow gauges for snowfall.
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Dec 01, 2023
Rainfall is critical for understanding the water cycle in regions where liquid precipitation is predominant. Precipitation, in its broader scope, is essential for studying climatic patterns, including areas with mixed or solid forms of atmospheric water deposits.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
The occurrence of rainfall is usually associated with specific types of clouds, like cumulonimbus or stratus. In contrast, precipitation can occur from various cloud formations, depending on the temperature and atmospheric conditions, leading to different precipitation types.
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Dec 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Liquid water drops falling from clouds
Any form of water (liquid or solid) falling from the sky
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Dec 01, 2023

Forms

Only liquid form
Includes rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.
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Dec 01, 2023

Measurement

Measured in mm or inches of water depth
Different techniques for different forms
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Dec 01, 2023

Associated Cloud Types

Typically cumulonimbus and stratus
Varies widely depending on the form
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Dec 01, 2023

Relevance

Important for hydrological studies in wet regions
Crucial for overall climatic pattern studies
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Dec 01, 2023
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Rainfall and Precipitation Definitions

Rainfall

Rainfall is the amount of rain that falls from clouds.
The annual rainfall in the region averages 40 inches.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

Precipitation is any form of water, liquid or solid, falling from the sky.
The weather forecast predicts mixed precipitation for tomorrow.
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Dec 01, 2023

Rainfall

Rainfall is the precipitation of liquid water droplets.
The heavy rainfall caused the river to overflow.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

Precipitation includes all types of water particles descending from clouds.
Due to cold temperatures, the precipitation today was mainly sleet.
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Dec 01, 2023

Rainfall

Rainfall refers to the water released from clouds in the form of rain.
The farmers were relieved by the night's gentle rainfall.
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Dec 01, 2023
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Precipitation

Any form of water, such as rain, snow, sleet, or hail, that falls to the earth's surface.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

Rainfall is the descent of water drops from the atmosphere.
The rainfall last night replenished the parched land.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

The quantity of such water falling in a specific area within a specific period.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

A shower or fall of rain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

A hastening or acceleration, especially one that is sudden or unexpected
He is responsible for the precipitation of his own demise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

The quantity of water, expressed in inches, precipitated as rain, snow, hail, or sleet in a specified area and time interval.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

Abrupt or impulsive haste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

(meteorology) the amount of rain that falls on a single occasion
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

A headlong fall or rush.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

The occurrence of liquid precipitation, the fall of rain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

(Chemistry) The process of separating a substance from a solution as a solid.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

A fall or descent of rain; the water, or amount of water, that falls in rain; as, the average annual rainfall of a region.
Supplied by the rainfall of the outer ranges of Sinchul and Singaleleh.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

(meteorology) Any or all of the forms of water particles, whether liquid or solid, that fall from the upper atmosphere (e.g., rain, hail, snow or sleet). It is a major class of hydrometeor, but it is distinguished from cloud, fog, dew, rime, frost, etc., in that it must fall. It is distinguished from cloud and virga in that it must reach the ground.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

Water falling in drops from vapor condensed in the atmosphere
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

A hurried headlong fall.
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Oct 19, 2023

Rainfall

Rainfall is the process of raindrops falling to the ground.
The rainfall was so intense that it flooded the streets.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

A reaction that leads to the formation of a heavier solid in a lighter liquid; the precipitate so formed at the bottom of the container.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

(figuratively) Unwise or rash rapidity; sudden haste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The act of precipitating, or the state of being precipitated, or thrown headlong.
In peril of precipitationFrom off rock Tarpeian.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

A falling, flowing, or rushing downward with violence and rapidity.
The hurry, precipitation, and rapid motion of the water, returning . . . towards the sea.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

Great hurry; rash, tumultuous haste; impetuosity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The act or process of precipitating from a solution.
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

A deposit on the earth of hail, mist, rain, sleet, or snow; also, the quantity of water deposited.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The quantity of water falling to earth at a specific place within a specified period of time;
The storm brought several inches of precipitation
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The process of forming a chemical precipitate
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

The act of casting down or falling headlong from a height
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

An unexpected acceleration or hastening;
He is responsible for the precipitation of his own demise
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

Overly eager speed (and possible carelessness);
He soon regretted his haste
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Oct 19, 2023

Precipitation

Precipitation refers to the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity.
The meteorologist explained the process of precipitation in the water cycle.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

Precipitation is the collective term for rain, snow, sleet, and hail.
The mountains received more precipitation in the form of snow.
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Dec 01, 2023

Precipitation

Precipitation is the deposit of water in any form from the atmosphere to the earth.
The annual precipitation in this desert region is less than ten inches.
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Dec 01, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can precipitation be solid?

Yes, precipitation can be solid, like snow or hail.
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Dec 01, 2023

What is rainfall?

Rainfall is the fall of water drops from clouds.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is precipitation?

Precipitation includes any form of water - liquid or solid - falling from the sky.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How does rainfall affect agriculture?

Rainfall is crucial for agriculture, providing essential water for crops.
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Dec 01, 2023

What role does precipitation play in the water cycle?

Precipitation is a key component of the water cycle, returning water from the atmosphere to Earth.
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Dec 01, 2023

How does urbanization affect rainfall?

Urbanization can affect rainfall patterns, often leading to increased rainfall in urban areas.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is dew considered rainfall?

No, dew is not considered rainfall as it forms on surfaces and not from clouds.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is fog a form of precipitation?

Fog is not considered precipitation as it consists of suspended water droplets in the air.
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Dec 01, 2023

Are all types of precipitation equally common?

No, the commonality of precipitation types varies with climatic and geographic conditions.
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Dec 01, 2023

How is rainfall measured?

Rainfall is measured in millimeters or inches using rain gauges.
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Dec 01, 2023

How can we collect data on precipitation?

Precipitation data is collected using rain gauges, radar, and satellites.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can rainfall be artificially induced?

Yes, techniques like cloud seeding can induce rainfall.
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Dec 01, 2023

What is the difference between rainfall and showers?

Showers are short, sudden, and possibly heavy rainfall, whereas rainfall can be continuous and varied in intensity.
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Dec 01, 2023

What is the main source of moisture for precipitation?

The main source is the evaporation of water from oceans and other bodies of water.
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Dec 01, 2023

Can rainfall be predicted?

Rainfall can be predicted using meteorological data and models.
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Dec 01, 2023

Is all rain the same acidity?

No, rain's acidity can vary; pollution can lead to acid rain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the heaviest type of precipitation?

Hail, often causing damage, is considered the heaviest.
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Dec 01, 2023

How does elevation affect precipitation?

Higher elevations often receive more precipitation due to orographic lift.
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Dec 01, 2023

Does precipitation include mist?

No, mist is made up of tiny water droplets suspended in the air, not falling.
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Dec 01, 2023

Does snowfall count as rainfall?

Snowfall is a type of precipitation, but it is not considered rainfall, which is specifically liquid.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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