Scientists Capture the Smell of Rain

Using high speed cameras scientists captured how raindrops release aerosol when hitting a surface.

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a video which explains why rainy weather has a specific smell. To understand it, they ran about 600 experiments and published their results in Nature Communication.

Researchers simulated rain in a lab, and using high speed cameras captured raindrops falling from different heights on various surfaces. They discovered that as a raindrop hits a surface, it starts to flatten; simultaneously, tiny bubbles rise up from the surface and form “frenzied aerosols.” It releases a smell, which people call the “smell of rain.”

The MIT scientists think their theory may explain phenomena, like why in a rainy weather people become sick more often – “frenzied aerosols” also contain bacteria from the soil. Experimentally they proved that the more aerosols were produced in moderate rain make it easier to become infected than during heavy rain.

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