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Ask Todd: Why rain isn't salty

10:11 PM, Aug 2, 2012   |    comments
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Eric King asks: "If we get a lot of our moisture from the ocean, which is salt water, and when it rains and the rain falls as fresh water, what happens to the salt content from the ocean water?"

So, put simply, why isn't rain water salty?

It's because of evaporation.

When water evaporates, it leaves behind all of the salts in the water. The salt isn't attached to the water molecules; it's only mixed together with them.

So, when the water evaporates, the salt stays in the ocean.

Now a strong storm, like a hurricane, can blow salty foam from waves inland, and this can make some of the rain salty.
In cases when that salty foam forms, the foam is mixed with the rain, not a part of it.

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