4Warn Weather – With rounds of rain in the forecast for Metro Detroit for the rest of the week, you might be able to sense it coming … but can you literally smell when rain is approaching?
Science says yes!
There are a few reasons why you might be able to smell incoming rain.
One of those reasons is that soil-dwelling bacteria secrete geosmin when producing spores. Geosmin has a distinctive earthy or musty odor. Raindrops especially help release the earthy-smelling chemical in the air.
The second cause: Plants secrete oils during dry periods, and rain causes compounds called “petrichor” to be released from those oils. Petrichor is the familiarly earthy smell that occurs when rain falls after that dry period.
The third reason is that lightning can split oxygen molecules into individual atoms. Those atoms combine with additional oxygen molecules to make ozone, which has a distinct pre-rain odor.
So, science says that, in fact, your nose knows when rain is coming!
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