What is Graupel?

Posted by on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

By RyanW124 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24781116

Graupel is precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of rime.

The term Graupel is of Germanic in origin; it is the diminutive of Graupe, meaning "pearl barley." 

Many people mistakenly refer to Graupel as hail or ice pellets. However Graupel is distinct from hail, small hail and ice pellets: the World Meteorological Organization defines small hail as snow pellets encapsulated by ice, a precipitation halfway between graupel and hail.

Hail are pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds and only occurs during thunderstorms. 

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