Term: Ice pellet Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary


Definition: Precipitation of small balls or pieces of ice (hailstones) with a diameter ranging from 5 to 50 millimeters (0.2 to 2.0 inches), or sometimes more, falling either separately or agglomerated into irregular lumps; when the diameter is less that about 5 millimeters (0.2 inch), the balls are called ice pellets.  NSIDCCryosphere 

For definition see Hail.  SPRI 

Precipitation of transparent or translucent pellets of ice, which are spherical or irregular shaped, having a diameter of 5 mm or less. They are classified into two types hard grains of ice consisting of frozen rain drops or largely melted and refrozen snowflakes; pellets of snow encased in a thin layer of ice which have formed from the freezing of droplets intercepted by pellets or water resulting from the partial melting of pellets. Ice pellets usually bounce when hitting hard ground and make a sound on impact. They can fall as continuous precipitation or in showers.  CanadaNCA 

(abbrev. IP) Same as Sleet; defined as pellets of ice composed of frozen or mostly frozen raindrops or refrozen partially melted snowflakes. These pellets of ice usually bounce after hitting the ground or other hard surfaces. A Winter Storm Warning is issued for sleet or a combination of sleet and snow based on total accumulation which is locally defined by area.  NOAA-NWS 

Tiny particles of ice that are formed when supercooled raindrops freeze before reaching the ground.  ECCCanada 

Precipitation of transparent particles of ice which are spherical or irregular, rarely conical, and which have a diameter of 5 mm or less.  WMOMeteoterm 

A type of precipitation consisting of transparent or translucent pellets of ice, less than 5 mm in diameter. They may be spherical, irregular, or (rarely) conical in shape. Ice pellets usually bounce when hitting hard ground and make a sound upon impact. Now internationally recognized, ice pellets includes two basically different types of precipitation, known in the United States as 1) sleet and 2) small hail. Thus a two-part definition is given: 1) sleet or grains of ice, generally transparent, globular, solid grains of ice that have formed from the freezing of raindrops or the refreezing of largely melted snowflakes when falling through a below-freezing layer of air near the earth's surface; 2) small hail, generally translucent particles, consisting of snow pellets encased in a thin layer of ice. The ice layer may form either by the accretion of droplets upon the snow pellet or by the melting and refreezing of the surface of the snow pellet.  AMSglossary 

A type of precipitation. Ice pellets or sleet are transparent or translucent spheres of frozen water that fall from clouds. Ice pellets have a diameter less than 5 millimeters. To form, this type of precipitation requires an environment where raindrops develop in an atmosphere where air temperature is above freezing. These raindrops then fall into a lower layer of air with freezing temperatures. In this lower layer of cold air, the raindrops freeze into small ice pellets. Like freezing rain, an air temperature inversion is required for development of ice pellets.  PhysicalGeography