A mechanism for giant raindrop formation in warm, shallow convective clouds

R. M. Rauber, K. V. Beard, B. M. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Giant raindrops (4-8 mm diameter) have been observed recently within warm convective rainbands with depths ≤2 km off the coast of the big island of Hawaii. The presence of giant raindrops in these clouds was initially surprising since model and laboratory results support the view that collisional breakup should rapidly destroy such drops in natural clouds. We present data from the 1985 Joint Hawaiian Warm Rain Project that suggest that giant raindrops result when selected small raindrops recirculate from downdrafts into updrafts within eddies generated along updraft/downdraft shear zones near cloud top. We show that this recirculation mechanism is consistent with observed cloud structure both at early and late stages of cloud lifetime in Hawaiian rainbands. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1791-1797
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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