Sunday, August 29, 2010

Debate - Rainiest places in the world

Source - Helium - Effie Moore Salem

Most people agree that the rainiest places on earth are Cherrapunji, India, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Australia, Colombia, in the Cameroon Mountain area of Africa, Kauia, Hawaii. Interestingly, I learned while researching that there is a difference between the rainiest places and the wettest places on earth. One would think that the water falling down would soak the soil to a point of saturation that could be called wet; but apparently not

It must be then that in some places the rain falls but it either runs off quickly - water runs from high to low when cool - or it is quickly evaporated into the atmosphere by the sun. Adding to that would be the wind currents that could divert the rain farther away from its downward thrust. How do the selected areas get nominated for the rainiest, the driest, having the longest drought and so on? It is the yearly rainfall averaged that gives them this distinction. In Tutunedo, Colombia the average rainfall is 463.4 inches. There it probably does not rain every day, but when it does it produces more water, In Mount Wai-Ali'Ali'in Kauai, Hawaii it rains on the average 350 days out of 365.

Opposite these facts are some no-rain statistics: From October 1903 to January 1918 it did not rain in Africa, Chile. That means that for fourteen years they were without rain. A similar but lesser deprivation happened in the US October 12th 1912 to November 8th, 1914 in Bagdad, California. The highest annual rainfall in Europe is Crkvica, a little town near Sarajevo in Bosnia.

Columbia is a wet country since it has much rainfall and apparently most of the rain is contained where it falls. Meteorologist explains it this way and label the phenomenon mega diverse. What that means is the country has mountains, deserts, tropical regions, steppes - flat lands amidst mountainous regions - giving it the right kind of weather for rain. In particular, Andaguya, a Colombian town that is on the equator and has an almost constant temperature year round. They get lots of rain. Yet, elsewhere in Colombia, there's not a drop to drink although they have a record rainfall. Quibdo, Columbia, a lowland area near the Panama border, a gateway between that country and South Central America has a record rainfall but has water shortages.

Cameroon, Africa, near the Cameroon Mountains averages about 400 inches of rain a year in some parts. The area is conducive to rain fall with the tropical regions, ocean, forests, grasslands, deserts and mountains. A similar situation happens in India. Meghalya has enough rainfall and is wet but it has little fit to drink. This area holds the record for the most rainfall in one year. In 1860-1861 it was over 900 inches.

Why does it rain daily in the wettest place in the world? In Mount Waialeala Kauai, Hawaii has special place for rain. It all related to geological conditions with a conical shape, is near an ocean and has the perfect trade winds that are conducive to rain. Llora Colombia has coastlines on the Pacific and Caribean Ocean is, according to weather watcher, a geologic freak with a daily 1.5 inch rainfall. It holds the honor of being the world's wettest place.

Source - Helium - Susan Smalls

You would expect the rainforest to be one of the rainiest places of the world, but it falls far behind in its average rainfalls. The rainforest minimally receives between 68 and 78 inches of rain a year, while the rainiest places all receive well over 400 inches per year. Perhaps they should rename the rainforests as dryforests in comparison to these wetlands.

The actual rainiest place in the world is arguable. It depends on what factors you take into consideration. Should the rainiest place be the one with the highest average rainfall or should it be the city with the most rainy days? The following three places have all claimed to be the rainiest place in the world, so I'll give you their statistics and facts and let you decide depending on which factors you think should be taken into consideration.

Cherrapunji holds two Guinness World Records relating to rainfall. The first one is the highest rainfall in one year, which was 904.9 inches between August 1860 and July 1861. It also holds the record for the highest rainfall within one month, which was 366 inches in July 1861. On average, it rains about 450 inches a year in Cherrapunji, most of which falls during the monsoon season of their winter months. The immense rainfall of Cherrapunji is caused primarily by the Khasi Hills. The monsoon clouds fly into the town from the Bay of Bengal, and the Khasi Hills then break up and condense the clouds, which leads to the high rainfall.

Mawsynram is located only 9 kilometers west of Cherrapunji, so it shares a similar climate. Here, it rains about 472 inches in an average year, but once again, the majority of this rainfall comes during the monsoon season. The Khasi Hills is what causes it to rain so much in Mawsynram as well, and the continual uplift of air over the hills makes the rainfall continuous during the monsoon season. One problem with Mawsynram is that it does not have its own meteorological office. Because of this, it is hard to obtain official records to prove that it is one of the rainiest cities, so Cherrapunji is often considered wetter than Mawsynram.

Mount Waialeale is clearly not a place you would want to honeymoon, since it rains up to 350 days a year here. In the average year, there is 467 inches of rainfall, but it is a much more consistent rain than the two cities in India. It is definitely the rainiest place in the United States, but it also claims to be the rainiest place in the world. The rain here is caused by the location and shape of the island. Because of where it is located, it is more exposed to frontal systems in the Pacific Ocean during winter. The island also has a circular shape, which allows all sides to be hit by clouds of moisture and moisture itself. Mount Waialeale is also known for its steep cliffs, which cause clouds to rapidly rise and then drop a lot of rain in one area.

As these three places battle it out for the rainiest place in the world, here are a few other rainy spots:
- Tutunendo, Columbia
- Hilo, Hawaii
- Crkvica, Bosnia
- Quibdo, Columbia
- Llora, Columbia
- Debundscha, Cameroon

Source - Red Orbit

Depending on the region, precipitation derives from different areas and can vary greatly. In the United Kingdom most rain is driven into the country by the south-western trade winds along the warm gulf stream currents. The western coastal regions can receive up to 40 inches of rain per year at sea level, and up to 100 inches in the mountains.

In the United States, the city of Seattle, Washington is well known for its rainy climate. However, despite its rainy climate, the city experiences less rainfall (37 inches per year) on average than New York City (46 inches per year). Seattle does have more cloudy days (201 per year) than New York City (152). The wettest city in the 48 contiguous United States is Mobile, Alabama, with an average rainfall of 67 inches per year. Alaska’s temperate rainforests of the southeast get an average of 160 inches per year.

Although Australia is the world’s driest continent, more than 300 inches of rain falls on Mount Bellendon Ker in the northeast each year. 472 inches were recorded in the year 2000. Melbourne’s climate is similar to that of Seattle, Washington in the USA, but only gets about 25 inches per year. Sydney receives an average of 48 inches of rain per year.

Cherrapunji, a town on the southern slopes of the Himalayas in Shillong, India is one of the wettest places on Earth. The average annual rainfall is about 450 inches per year. The highest recorded rainfall was 904.9 inches in one year in 1861. Although Mawsynram, Meghalaya, India has an estimated yearly rainfall of 467.4 inches, Cherrapunji is known as the wettest, as rainfall records were never supervised properly at Mawsynram. It should be noted that Cherrapunji is also considered the wettest area on Earth as most of its rainfall occurs during the monsoon seasons.

The town of Lloró, situated in Chocó, Colombia, is considered the place with the most rainfall, averaging 523.6 inches per year. Along with Cherrapunji in Asia, the town of Tutunendo in Colombia, South America is also one of the wettest on the planet. In 1974 the town recorded 86.3 feet of rainfall, the largest annual rainfall measured in Colombia. Unlike Cherrapunji, which gets most of its rain between April and September, Tutunendo receives rain throughout the year. Tutunendo has an average of 280 days of rain per year, of which 68% of the rain falls at night. Some storms in Chocó have been known to drop as much as 20 inches of rain in one day.

Source - Ratestogo

Before you venture off on vacation or even choose your destination, common sense dictates that you should consult the local weather authority. Many trips have ended in utter ruin because travelers, in their sheer innocence, were oblivious to monsoon season or the prevalence of sandstorms at a particular time of year. So call ahead. Consult an Almanac. And unless you have some specific scientific or sadistic need, avoid these precipitation-prone places. With many at over an inch a day, they clearly rank as the rainiest inhabited regions in the world.

Although the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina is devoid of coastline, save for a scant shore of the Adriatic, it nonetheless receives a fair amount of rain, most notably in Crkvica. The town in Bosnia, just northwest of Sarajevo, consistently receives the highest annual average precipitation in Europe.

Another megadiverse country, perhaps more so than any other on the planet, is Australia. With desert, mountains, ocean and tropical rainforests, the country continent is unlike any other. The area of Bellenden Ker and indeed, the mountain of the same name, is a World Heritage Rainforest zone. A short drive from the city of Cairns, the region is lush, rife with exotic plant and animal life and indeed a victim of mass precipitation.

Colombia proves to be wet all over once again with the town of Quibdo. Over 100,000 people live in the capital of the Choco Department, as the national divisions are known as. On the border of Panama and indeed, the gateway between South and Central America, the department and town receive some of the most zany weather in Colombia. Unfortunate because in addition – or perhaps because of which – Quidibo has some of the worst social conditions and economic track records in the country. In point of fact, despite record rainfall every year, the lowland town still manages to suffer from water shortages.

Cameroon has a reputation for being one of the most exotic and beautiful nations in Africa. Indeed, it encompasses the principal features of the continent on a small scale, with hyper diversity in a region about the size of California. As a result of course, parts of Cameroon receive super heavy rainfall. This tends to be the case when you have ocean coastline, tropical forests, grasslands, deserts and mountains within close proximity to each other. At the base of Mount Cameroon and within plain view of the Bight of Biafra, Debundscha receives over 400 inches of rain a year.

Another region with rainfall levels well above 400 inches, Cherrapunji shares another notorious distinction with other wet areas. In utter bewilderment and stark contrast to the weather, the town in the state of Meghalya confronts epic water shortage problems. Geography conspires to make Cherrapunji so wet and also devoid of potable water by the same token. At the confluence of the Kashi Hills and Bay of Bengal, the town receives both north and south monsoon showers that pound the area in a flash, only to flood down the plains of Bangladesh. No suprise then that Cherrapunji holds the record for most rainfall in one year at over 900 inches back in 1860-61.

Another village in the Kashi Hills in the state of Meghalya, Mawsynram proves once again that India is a complex and diverse country. A quick drive from Cherrapunji, the town records indicate more annual rainfall, although disputes about data accuracy have been rife as both regions fight for rainfall supremacy. Whatever the case may be, Mawsynram appears to have a more favorable – or is that cursed? – position in terms of proximity to the Bay of Bengal and steep incline of the Kashi Hills, which allows humid, moist air to ascend and in turn, blanket the area with rain.

Although not exactly a residential area, the region around Mount Waialeale and indeed the summit, receives a ton of precipitation on a habitual basis. Tourism officials in Hawaii love to boast that this is the wettest place on the planet, although some in India and Colombia take issue with the claim. Whatever the case may be, the rainfall in Kauai is notable for the fact that it occurs with such daily regularity. Mount Waialeale bears the brunt of the precipitation because of a conical shape and pure geographical position relative to the ocean and trade winds. Although open to tourism, there are obvious physical impediments here due to the amount of rain that falls every day. In other words, the ground is super wet.

The town and municipality of Lloro is another area within the Choco Department of Colombia prone to rain. A lot of rain. With coastlines on the Pacific and Caribbean, unique in the country, the area is an ecological freak of sorts and as a result, the victim of zany phenomena. Average annual precipitation in the town of Lloro is 523.6 inches, which ranks it first in terms of wet world zones. With over 7,000 inhabitants, one has to wonder how people here cope with almost 1.5 inches of rain a day.

Source - Dandantheweatherman

Weather records have been kept for years and years at all sorts of places so you'd have thought it would be really easy to discover where the wettest place in the world is. Guess again - meteorologists can't for the life of them seem to agree on where the wettest place in the world is! Of course the thing to remember is that we're looking at average rainfall, i.e. consistent wetness, rather than one year with a huge rainfall total. Of course other ways of judging the wettest place in the world would be to look at the number of days or hours with precipitation. Sadly I've not unearthed much in this department - De Bilt in the central Netherlands gets on average about 604 hours precipitation per year (there's 8,760 hours in a year) and in 2001 had 800 hours precipitation. Here precipitation falls on around 200-250 days per year. For the time being, however, it's where the greatest average rainfall in the world is that we're interested i

Mount Wai-‘ale-‘ale, Kauai, one of the Hawaiian islands - the weather station here is 1569 metres high and records on average 13,000mm to 11,684mm rain per year, depending on which source you believe. Either way this is really wet!!!!! Rain falls on between 335 and 360 days per year, again depending on which source you believe. Nearby sea level sites, meanwhile, record around 500mm rain per year.

As you can see, sources vary considerably as to how much rain falls here. Bodin (1978) quotes 11,684mm per year figure as being the 1912-45 average, an average that quite possibly will have changed since then, whilst The National Climatic Data Center quotes this figure as a 30 year average there, but fails to mention which 30 period was covered. The Weather Network and The Guiness Book of Weather Records (Holford 1977) quotes 11,455mm rain per year, whilst Ahrens (2000) quotes 11,680mm as the average annual rainfall at Mount Wai-'ale-'ale and Kroll (1995) claims 13,000mm falls there.

Similarly, The Weather Network and the Guiness Book of Weather Records quote 335 days with rain here whilst Simons (1996) suggests that rain falls on an incredible 360 days per year here. Nice.

Mount Tutenendo, Columbia - records 11,770mm to 12,045mm rain per year, again depending on which source you choose to believe (Simons 1996, Focus Magazine 1997), and there's just 275mm difference between sources.

Lloro, Columbia - estimated 13,299mm rain per year (Raikhel 2000). According to The National Climatic Data Center this is an estimated amount and in fact Quibdo in Columbia, which is at a lower altitude than Lloro, is with an average annual rainfall of 8,991.6mm rain South America's wettest place.

Cherrapunji,north-eastern India - was thought for many years to be the wettest place in the world. Here 10,820mm rain (Holford 1977) falls on average in a year, well short of the amounts that fall at the other contenders. Unlike Hawaii and Columbia where the rain falls throughout the whole year, Cherrapunji gets most of its rain during the 'south-west monsoon', or wet season, between June and August. Cherrapunji does hold the record for the wettest month on record, recording 9,296mm in July 1861. Actually, between 1860 and 1862 Cherrapunji was incredibly wet; between August 1st 1860 and July 31st 1861 (which overlaps parts of 2 wet seasons) 26,467mm rain fell. In the calender year 1861 22,987mm rain fell, of which 22,454 fell between April and September.

Mawsynram, India - is quoted by the The National Climatic Data Center as having an annual average rainfall of 11,871mm and 11,877mm by BBC Weather, more than any other contender except Lloro in Columbia. Mawsynram is just a few kilometres away from Cherrapunji.

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