Types of Precipitation



The sun heats up the land causing the air above it to heat up. Hot air rises and cools forming rain. Cool air falls back down and circulation continues as long as the land is hot. As the day heats up, clouds continue to grow which can lead to thunderstorms. This type of precipitation occurs in the Prairies and the rest of Canada in the summer.


Cyclonic or Frontal


Warm air mass moves towards low pressure where there is a cold air mass. The less dense warm air is forced to rise over the more dense cold air. The warm air condenses and precipitation forms. This type of precipitation is most winter storms from the prairies eastward. This type of precipitation is very frequent in Ontario and Quebec.


Relief or Mountain


Warm moist air is forced up by the mountains; the air cools with increased elevation, condenses and comes down as precipitation. The air continues over the mountain. Dry cool air descends and picks up moisture on the way down, making a dry climate. This type of precipitation occurs in British Columbia.