Raindrop shape

E. Linacre


It is a mistake to think of raindrops as like tears (), with a bulging base and tapering tail. Raindrops and smaller cloud droplets are round, as can be seen in the background. The shape of large, falling raindrops oscillates between that of an egg and that of a thick pancake, with top and bottom of similar contour at any moment. This oscillation becomes unstable and drops exceeding 5 mm in diameter will break up into many smaller drops.