Department of Physical Meteorology Research
A variety of physical processes are involved in cloud formation and precipitation development. Clouds form in the atmosphere as a result of the condensation or deposition of water vapor on aerosol particles (i.e., cloud condensation nuclei for water clouds or ice nuclei for ice-crystal clouds). Precipitation begins to form in clouds as water droplets or ice crystals. Through the processes of vapor diffusion and collision- coalescence, particles grow to form rain, snow, graupel or hailstones. Upon entering warmer air, much of this solid precipitation melts to form rain before reaching the ground. These cloud and precipitation processes are complex, and many aspects of them still remain to be solved despite their importance in precipitation forecasting, climate change and weather modification researches.
Our laboratory has conducted field observations, laboratory experiments and numerical modeling to elucidate these cloud and precipitation processes.