Author: Mary Knapp

We mentioned the definition of meteorology as “phenomena of the air”. Another term of interest is “hydrometeor”. It is a combination of two roots: “hdyro” for water and “meteor” for a small body of matter. The American Meteorological Dictionary defines hydrometeor as “any product of condensation or deposition of atmospheric water vapor”. It also includes “any water particle blown by the wind from the earth's surface”. Not surprisingly, there are a LOT of hydrometeors out there. They include the obvious types such as rain drops, hail, sleet and snow. They also include clouds, virga, haze, fog and mist. What may be more surprising is that the term includes such phenomena as blowing snow and sea spray.

Figure 1. Hydrometeor symbols (Weather Prediction Center)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library