Scavenging by precipitation

From Glossary of Meteorology

scavenging by precipitation

Removal of pollutants from the air by either rain or snow.

Rainout (or snowout), which is the in-cloud capture of particulates as condensation nuclei, is one form of scavenging. The other form is washout, the below-cloud capture of particulates and gaseous pollutants by falling raindrops. Large particles are most efficiently removed by washout. Small particles (especially those less than 1 μm in diameter) more easily follow the airstream flowing around raindrops and generally avoid capture by raindrops except in heavy rain events.