What is convectional rainfall?

By Krishan Yadav|Updated : June 29th, 2022

Convectional rainfall occurs when the heated air from the earth's surface rises upwards along with the water vapor and gets condensed and the land heats up, it warms the air above it, causing it to expand and rise. As the air rises, it cools and condenses. This process of condensation forms clouds high in the atmosphere. If this process continues, rainfall will occur. This type of rainfall is widespread in tropical areas (between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn) and in areas such as South East England during warm sunny spells. Convectional rainfall is widespread in areas where the ground is heated by the hot sun, such as the Tropics. This is why areas, such as the Amazon Rainforest, experience heavy rainfall most afternoons.

Find out more about the convectional rainfall below.

The process of convectional rainfall is first, the sun heats the ground, and warm air rises. As the air rises, it cools, and water vapor condenses to form clouds. When the condensation point is reached, large cumulonimbus clouds are formed. Heavy rainstorms occur. These usually include thunder and lightning due to the electrical charge created by unstable conditions.

There are two types of rainfall which are convectional rainfall and cyclonic rainfall.

Differences between convectional rainfall and cyclonic rainfall are

Convectional Rainfall

Cyclonic Rainfall


Convectional rainfall is a type of rainfall that involves the formation of convection currents.

Cyclonic rainfall, on the other hand, is caused due to cyclones. A cyclone has a warm front and a cold front with a substantial difference in the temperatures.


This rainfall occurs when the temperature gets high and the warmer air rises up in the atmosphere. On expansion, this air cools down and clouds are formed, which are generally cumulus clouds.

A cyclone has a warm front and a cold front with a substantial difference in the temperatures. This difference causes the air above the warm front to rise up and expand. The expansion causes the temperature to drop and condensation occurs, which results in the formation of clouds.


These clouds bring rainfall which lasts for a very short duration.

These clouds bring heavy rainfall which may even go on for several days.


Such rainfall is known as convectional rainfall which occurs mainly in the northern hemisphere, predominantly in the tropical regions.

This type of rainfall is known as cyclonic rainfall and generally occurs in the coastal areas of the world.


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