As a child, most of us thought that rain occurs due to clouds. But growing up, the reality struck, and this perspective changed. The thing is, hail can even happen without a cloudy sky. Let us give you an example.

Have you ever experienced a sunny day and suddenly realized that it started drizzling out of nowhere? Did you ask yourself, how did it rain with no clouds at all in the sky? That is what this is about. Such a situation where rain falls out of a cloudless sky is a sun shower.

rain-on-rainbow-umbrella

Most people do not know sun showers or serein as many of us are made to believe that rain cannot occur without clouds. But that could be the case in such situations where the rain falls even under the scorching heat. Thus, a sun shower is a phenomenon where rain falls from the sun even when there are no clouds.

Such a thing mainly occurs due to prevailing winds blowing precipitation over long distances or dissipating clouds. Sun showers arise in many places across the globe, including India. During such storms, rain does not bring much relief to the weather, but it may decrease the effects of heat to a considerable extent.

Can There Be Rain Without Clouds?

The straight answer to this question would be yes. There can be rain without clouds in many situations, especially during rain showers. As discussed above, sun showers could be the result of dissipating clouds and prevailing winds. Although there have been many other assumptions regarding this, these two are the most logical reasons for sun showers to occur in the first place.

1. Presence of prevailing solid winds

 In many cases, rain showers co-occur when strong prevailing winds occur. When the clouds are high up in the atmosphere, it may take longer for the rain to reach Earth’s surface. So, when a strong wind is blowing across the same area, the rain can be carried away by the cloud system’s winds.

Thus, by the time it reaches the surface of the Earth, people who are experiencing it are caught off-guard as they may be unable to see any clouds in the sky. Thus, they find it odd that they could not detect this rainfall like always.

However, the thing is that the rain fell from the clouds, but they were carried off by the strong prevailing winds that resulted in this situation.

READ:  Difference Between Fog And Clouds

2. Quickly Dissipating clouds

One of the main factors that play a crucial role in forming sun showers is when it takes for the raindrops to leave the sky and reach the surface. Another thing that requires to occur for the formation of sun showers is dissipating clouds. This means that the shadows should have very little moisture left in them to cause ample rainfall.

Thus, when rain from such clouds comes to the surface, there is almost no moisture left at all. This directly impacts condensation and the formation of water droplets.

That is why the clouds begin to dissipate quickly after the last droplet falls. Since rain during this time takes enough time to reach the surface, the clouds are almost gone by the time. That is why such sun showers may occur.

Is It Possible To Have No Clouds at All?

Yes. You may experience an entirely cloudless day for utmost convenience. That is when there aren’t enough rising levels of humidity to cause them.

Clouds are just condensed water vapor when water in the air and temperature and water vapor coincide. When the air begins to rise, it cools and carries less water vapor. However, once this capacity to take the air increases, clouds will be formed instantly.

Thus, on days you see no clouds at all, it means that the air is mostly moving downwards only. That is because the formation of shadows is not possible if the upward movement is absent. So, if the air fails to rise above the atmosphere, clouds cannot be formed. Such a thing usually happens in areas with high pressure.

You may have noticed that many-a-times mountain ranges have clouds only on one part while the other has it in minimal. The cloudy part of the mountain ranges has the air levels rising while the latter has it going down.

Also, when the atmosphere is dry enough, there is not enough water vapor for condensation of the low-pressure cycle. That is why if a desert is big enough, it does not form enough clouds.

One of the main reasons why the cloudless sky isn’t such a common experience is that it is impossible to have sunny skies without dirty air. However, most places have a foul mood due to constant pollution and more. Even the cleanest of homes have 1000 dust particles per cubic meter of air.

READ:  Can Rainwater Be Used For Drinking?

What is it Called When it Rains Without Clouds?

Rain without clouds is called Sun showers, as we discussed above. These sun showers or serein occur in several places; however, there are a few places in the world that have never experienced sun showers at all.

New Zealand, Australia, and Canada are a few places with no idea about sun showers. You may even find Ireland and the UK with no sun showers at all.

This meteorological phenomenon is created when a single rain shower cloud passes overhead, but the sun’s angle keeps it obstructed. Sun showers are usually followed by minimal rainfall that occurs for a short period. Such rainfall does not provide a cool breeze, but rainbows generally accompany it. 

Different folklore names across the globe know sun showers. Thus, in sun showers, you can experience the power of sunlight optimally. That is because it is a combination of both sunlight and rain. You will mostly see sun showers during summers and pre-monsoon days.

Does It Rain Above the Clouds?

A lot of people assume that there may be rain above the clouds. While scientists have spent several years researching that, logical facts suggest that such a thing is close to impossible.

They cannot rain above the clouds, for starters, because the Earth’s gravitational force will not allow that to happen. That is why rain can only occur on the surface of the Earth and not above the clouds.

Another essential factor to consider is that the sky above is free from condensed moisture’s water droplets. Although it cannot mean that there is no rain overhead, it means that they remain there in gaseous form.

Because rain forms when droplets of condensed moisture grow large enough to descend quickly into the air, their absence can make it impossible for rain to occur. That means if there are no clouds overhead, rain cannot happen as well.

How Do Clouds Float?

Do you ever look up at the sky and wonder why clouds float? Has it ever occurred to you why clouds are so lightweight that they float in the sky effortlessly? If you have ever traveled in a plane, you may have noticed these clouds floating in the sky. It looks heavenly!

READ:  How Fast Do Clouds Move?

There are innumerable reasons why clouds float in the sky. However, one of the essential things to know is that clouds do not float forever. This stops when the air can hold the cloud’s moisture as vapor.

Firstly, the droplets in the cloud are tiny. You will be shocked to know that an average water droplet is as small as human hair. Also, the size of the shadows is as big as a particle of dust. Although dust is heavier than clouds, it may float in the air because it is so tiny. That is precisely how these water vapors behave as well.

Another primary reason why clouds float in the air is that constant warm air movement makes that happen. As the warm air pushes the light-weighted cloud, they begin to flow more in the air.

Thirdly, clouds stay warmer than the air around them. Such a thing occurs because they absorb the sun’s energy better than the surrounding air.

These are some of the important reasons why clouds float in the sky every day.

Bottom Line

Clouds may look ordinary and monotonous, but they are as beautiful and mesmerizing to learn about as anything else. Of course, there is a lot more science involved behind clouds and how they function. This is just a part of it.

Today, there are many places on Earth where you may find no clouds, while the remaining may have the most clouds on Earth. Thus, it is an enchanting affair altogether.

Also, there are several types of clouds in the sky. These can be divided into ten times of which the most significant ones are Cumulus, Stratus and Cumulonimbus clouds. All of these clouds provide different kinds of functions. These cotton-looking phenomena are thus a fun learning experience altogether.

Oh, and if you cannot wait to spot the most beautiful cloudy places on earth, do not forget to visit Queenstown, Unkai Terrace and Hawaii. We promise; you will love it.

Share:

Sonia Madaan is a writer and founding editor of the science education blog EarthEclipse. She loves writing on topics related to space, environment, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. When she is not writing, she loves watching sci-fi movies on Netflix.