Giant raindrops seen in warm clouds



A paper in this month's issue of Geophysical Research Letters helps to dispel the conventional idea that raindrops 4–8 mm in diameter can only result from the melting of cloud ice. Giant raindrops up to 8 mm in diameter have now been observed in tropical rainstorms, according to Kenneth V. Beard of the Illinois State Water Survey (Champaign, Ill.), David B. Johnson of the Division of Atmospheric Resources Research in the Bureau of Reclamation (Denver, Colo.), and D. Baumgardner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, Colo.). The clouds studied in the Hawaiian Warm Rain Project were limited by a marine inversion to altitudes where the temperature is above the freezing point.