How Much Rainfall Does the Ocean Get?

much-rainfall-ocean Credit: David Prasad/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Some parts of the tropical areas of Earth's oceans receive between 115 and 197 inches of rainfall per year due to massive amounts of water evaporating from the ocean's surface. Trade winds carry this evaporated water to different areas where it cools and then falls back into the ocean.

As much as 30 percent of rain in the United States empties into streams and rivers, and much of that water eventually flows into the ocean. The other 70 percent of rain in America is evaporated back into the atmosphere.

Heat released by rain in the tropical zones drives hurricanes, tropical storms and thunderstorms across much of the Earth. This circulation of heat is known as Hadley circulation, and this warm air circulation creates massive clouds over open ocean areas.