Land Elevation Vs. Rainfall

Rain shadow, Lapse rate, Rain

For this research project, I plan to compare land elevation to total rainfall. I will illustrate the process of orographic precipitation and the effects it has on the land. Using data from web sites such as, I will compare the information on the graphs in order to determine what elevations receive the most rainfall. Orographic precipitation is interesting to me because I always wondered how regions of higher elevation received more rain or snow. Also orographic precipitation can be very significant because it can be used to predict flooding during storms. People who live in mountain regions could be notified that during a storm they will receive a higher percent of rainfall when compared to lower elevation regions.

Based on my observations and knowledge learned in this class, I believe regions in higher elevation and on windward sides of mountains will receive more rainfall throughout the year when compared to regions with lower elevations. Therefore cities on leeward sides of mountains will receive little rainfall due to the rain shadow effect. This is well illustrated in the image provided on page.

Orographic precipitation is caused by the lifting of moist air over a mountain barrier. Topographic barriers that block the path of horizontal air movements are likely to cause large masses of air to travel upslope. When a wind forces humid air to rise over a mountain or mountain range, the air cools at its dry lapse rate until its dew point is reached. At that point, condensation occurs and clouds begin to form. These clouds are the source of orographic precipitation on the windward side of the mountain. As the air is forced up to even higher elevations it continues to cool. Then once the rising air reaches the crest of the mountain range, it is no longer forced upward and begins to descend on the leeward side of the mountain. As soon as it begins to move down slope, adiabatic cooling is replaced by adiabatic warming and...
tracking img