General Question

harple's avatar

Could the rain falling on me, ever fall in another country? Across the pond for example?

Asked by harple (10448points) September 30th, 2010

Okay, it’s been a long time since I did any geography classes, but I have some recollection of how clouds are formed and can picture the water cycle.

Does this mean that the rain in my country will only ever fall on my country? Or is it possible for water that once fell here to be carried away and to fall in another country? If so, how far? Forgive my ignorance if this is an obviously stupid question.

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17 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The rain that falls on you and washes down your face and lands on the ground may seep through the earth to streams and rivers and lakes and evaporate up to the clouds that may float across the sea to another country. So, the answer is yes.

MissAnthrope's avatar

What @hawaii_jake said. The planet’s water cycle is a closed system and it’s like a giant water recycling system. I’d never really thought of it like this before, where my rain came from, and I’m finding it really interesting to ponder.

mickhock's avatar

@Harple You will not find anything regarding water evaporation in a Geography class .

ucme's avatar

When I was a kid & someone told me that it didn’t rain all over the world simultaneously, well I was utterly gobsmacked. My own little way of answering your question :¬)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The water cycle has no starting point. But, we’ll begin in the oceans, since that is where most of Earth’s water exists. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Ice and snow can sublimate directly into water vapor. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere, along with water from evapotranspiration, which is water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. The vapor rises into the air where cooler temperatures cause it to condense into clouds.

Air currents move clouds around the globe, cloud particles collide, grow, and fall out of the sky as precipitation. Some precipitation falls as snow and can accumulate as ice caps and glaciers, which can store frozen water for thousands of years. Snowpacks in warmer climates often thaw and melt when spring arrives, and the melted water flows overland as snowmelt. Most precipitation falls back into the oceans or onto land, where, due to gravity, the precipitation flows over the ground as surface runoff. A portion of runoff enters rivers in valleys in the landscape, with streamflow moving water towards the oceans. Runoff, and ground-water seepage, accumulate and are stored as freshwater in lakes. Not all runoff flows into rivers, though. Much of it soaks into the ground as infiltration. Some water infiltrates deep into the ground and replenishes aquifers (saturated subsurface rock), which store huge amounts of freshwater for long periods of time. Some infiltration stays close to the land surface and can seep back into surface-water bodies (and the ocean) as groundwater discharge, and some ground water finds openings in the land surface and emerges as freshwater springs. Over time, though, all of this water keeps moving, some to reenter the ocean, where the water cycle “ends” ... oops – I mean, where it “begins.”


So, yes, we may have shared the same rain water at different times. We may have even shared a cup of tea. :)

lloydbird's avatar

The idea that there is only one amount of water on the planet Earth, has long interested me.

Zaku's avatar

@lloydbird Well there’s also some water in planet Earth. See geysers, for example.

Qingu's avatar

At least some of the molecules of water that fall on your hair as rain undoubtably once rained down on other countries, and in fact were almost certainly drunk and peed out by Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ, and Hitler.

Molecules of water get around.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Zaku – Yes, but that is all still technically on Earth and is considered as part of the water cycle. Water underground is counted.

lloydbird's avatar

@Zaku “in”,on, around.
One amount.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

The rain that falls on you has likely been to all the continents already and will keep visiting each one. Also the air your breathing is the same air the dinosaurs breathed.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The Good News Earth has a lot of water
The Bad News Only 3% of it is fresh water—source‘s_water_distribution.svg
It isn’t distributed evenly, and we are running short of demand
The Good News There is always the possibility that someone will invent a cheap, environmentally-safe way of converting sea water into fresh water that can be used by all of us camping out on Earth.

Nullo's avatar

It has been speculated that all the water ever has been everywhere. Such that the stuff that comes out of the tap may have very well been used to bathe Ramses II.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, it’s true on the molecular level. It’s not true that the same “cup” of water you drank was used in Ramses’ bath, but it is practically certain that at least one molecule of water in your cup was used in Ramses’ bath.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu I am aware of that, thanks. I went for more poetry, less strict accuracy.

cubozoa's avatar

…maybe @harple has a private cloud that follows @harple around.

harple's avatar

@cubozoa ha ha!!! Like Eeyore?! Bless you! No, I am very into the romantic notion of the rain falling on me having fallen on people all over the world before… And as you can see from my avatar, the sun is shining in my world!

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