Definitions for virgaˈvɜr gə
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word virga
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
streaks of water drops or ice particles falling out of a cloud and evaporating before reaching the ground.
* (used with a sing. or pl. v.).
Origin of virga:
1935–40; < L: rod, streak
light wispy precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the ground (especially when the lower air is low in humidity)
A type of note used in plainsong notation, having a tail.
A streak of rain or snow that is dissipated in falling and does not reach the ground, commonly appearing descending from a cloud layer.
Origin: From virga.
In meteorology, virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating; this is often due to compressional heating, because the air pressure increases closer to the ground. It is very common in the desert and in temperate climates. In North America, it is commonly seen in the Western United States and the Canadian Prairies. Virga can cause varying weather effects, because as rain is changed from liquid to vapor form, it removes heat from the air due to the high heat of vaporization of water. In some instances, these pockets of colder air can descend rapidly, creating a dry microburst which can be extremely hazardous to aviation. Conversely, precipitation evaporating at high altitude can compressionally heat as it falls, and result in a gusty downburst which may substantially and rapidly warm the surface temperature. This fairly rare phenomenon, a heat burst, also tends to be of exceedingly dry air. Virga also has a role in seeding storm cells whereby small particles from one cloud are blown into neighboring supersaturated air and act as nucleation particles for the next thunderhead cloud to begin forming.
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