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Precipitation refers both to the process by which particles fall from clouds to the earth below, and to those particles themselves. Owing to various chemical and physical actions, cloud droplets that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere can aggregate around an ice or liquid core until they achieve a mass that causes them to fall from the sky. The different forms of precipitation that are possible include rain, snow, hail, and sleet. The type that forms depends on the specific weather conditions prevailing within the cloud and during the time between creation of the particle and its arrival on the ground. For example, cloud conditions may be such that ice particles form and start to fall to the ground, but the air conditions closer ...

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