|MadSci Network: Earth Sciences|
Hello Nishant, The wettest and driest spots on earth are somewhat difficult to pinpoint exactly, as reliable precipitation measurements are usually located quite far apart. Nonetheless, the wettest spot on earth is thought to be either Mount Waialeale on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, or Cherrapunji, India. Mount Waialeale is a 5148 foot mountain that receives nearly continuous precipitation from northeasterly trade winds blowing up the mountain slopes. Average rainfall is approximately 460 inches per year - about 38 feet or 11.7 meters. In Cherrapunji, consistent monsoon rains give tremendous precipitation. In fact, more than 1,000 inches of rain fell in Cherrapunji, India, during the monsoon season from 1860 to 1861. In March, 1952, 72 inches of rain fell in one day at Cilaos, on Reunion Island in the West Indian Ocean. On July 4, 1956, a cloudburst in Unionville, Maryland, USA, flooded the streets with an incredible 1.23 inches of rain in 60 seconds. The driest spot on earth may be the Atacama Desert along the Chilean- Peruvian border, where no rain has ever been recorded. Local peoples capture fog from the ocean for drinking water. Back to Antarctica. At the South Pole, precipitation averages less than one inch per year. However, since it is always very cold there, the snow never melts. I suspect that the web site that suggested Antarctica as both the wettest and driest points to the amount of water available in the polar ice cap - nearly 70% of the earth's fresh water in locked in the Antarctic ice cap. It is also one of the world’s greatest deserts but isn't hot and dry instead being cold and dry. Ken Harding National Weather Service Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA
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