I don't know an awful lot about meteorology, so please bear with me.

My wife (who has a Geography degree) told me that rain can be generated when moist air is pushed up the side of a mountain. This makes sense from a thermodynamic point of view, but I was wondering what scale we are talking about.

It so happens we live in a mountainous area, and I often see dark clouds over the other side of the mountains. The prevailing wind is always towards us, and when it rains, it looks really bad on the other side, but somewhat ordinary by the time it gets to where we live.

The lake on the far side of the mountain is at around 400 m, the mountain is a somewhat flat ridge peaking at 1100 m, and our side of the lake is at around 700 m.

Is most of the water dumped on the far side from us?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Orographic rainfall (and lack thereof) accounts for much of the Earth's diversity in ecology. If you are in the "rain shadow" it will be drier than the windward side, assuming there is a predominant wind flow direction. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Aug 3, 2014 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't measured the difference, it only seems like it rains a lot more on the other side. Also, the wind seems to come from that side when it is raining, but it can come from the other side, especially during Foehn season. But that's just what it feels like, not measured. $\endgroup$
    – Carlos
    Aug 3, 2014 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


700 m elevation difference on the windward side will be definitely enough to trigger orographic influences on precipitation. Thus from your description it seems very plausible that the mountains influence the precipitation you get.


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