EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Design and implementation of “rainfall snacks”: new opportunity for conveying drops of science

Auguste Gires1 and Eleonora Dallan2
Auguste Gires and Eleonora Dallan
  • 1Hydrologie Météorologie et Complexité (HM&Co), École des Ponts, Champs-sur-Marne, France (
  • 2Department of Land Environment Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy (

Despite being a very common experience for most people, rainfall essentially remains a mystery for them. They unfortunately remain unaware of the underlying complexity of this geophysical field which exhibits extreme variability over wide ranges of scales in both space and time. 

In order to overcome this lack of knowledge and push people to pay more attention to rainfall and more generally their geophysical environment, we designed and implemented “rainfall snacks”. It basically consists of a snack designed as a small drop of science, in which each item conveys a simple take home message on rainfall. 

In order to fulfil the overall purpose, few basic principles are followed for each item / activity: 1) They have a clear and simple take home message on a given rainfall feature. 2) The studied feature is immediately visible at first sight, for example by systematic comparison between two situations to highlight the targeted feature very easily. 3) The snack somehow mimics or enables to visualise actual data, and a more scientific display of the corresponding data is prepared for discussion (pictures, graphs). When possible, we used data tailored to the target audience, i.e. coming from a place they know. 4) The activity is designed as a whole from an initial game to actively engage the audience to the tasting / savouring and the scientific explanation.

Snacks with four different items were tested:

  • Rainfall Drop Size Distribution variability with cookies (macaron / “baci di dama”) representing drops variability in shape and in the actual size in their fall.
  • Rainfall monthly distribution and its variability, using glass with liquid (champagne, soda, water…) height corresponding to rainfall depth during a month
  • Rainfall intermittency at various time scales using small cakes decorated with two different colours
  • Spatial pattern of convective vs. stratiform event represented by fruits or cream coverage of tarts. 

Each item has been tested in various contexts (family / friends meetings, lab meetings), and improved step by step. Presentation will describe in detail each “rainfall snack item”, and discuss the implementations and improvements.

We found that people prefer a game approach, and this increases their active involvement and curiosity: they have to think more about the topic and to use their own reasoning, and this stimulates asking questions. The tasty food is a good motivation to participate (and to win the game). Although we did not really expect this at the beginning, it also sometimes enabled us to initiate a dialogue on what we did as researchers and as such bring research closer to the general public. In general, rainfall snacks enable us to communicate some science in a rather innovative, tasty and good looking way.

How to cite: Gires, A. and Dallan, E.: Design and implementation of “rainfall snacks”: new opportunity for conveying drops of science, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9073,, 2023.