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Raindrops go it alone

Single drips shatter to produce a wide variety of sizes

View a video of shattering raindrops at the bottom of this article.

Raindrops keep falling on your head in all different sizes, and now researchers know why. The shattering of single raindrops after they leave clouds is enough to explain the wide variety of drop sizes, a study appearing online July 20 in Nature Physics shows, overturning the notion that complicated interactions between falling drops are to blame.

The results may simplify conventional wisdom about raindrop sizes, comments Yangang Liu, an aerosol expert at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.

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