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Nature & Environment

Storm clouds are crawling with bacteria

By T.K. Randall
January 24, 2013 · Comment icon 20 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists have discovered that the clouds above our heads are filled with microbial life.
To conduct their study, researchers collected hailstones that had fallen from storm clouds over Slovenia. What they discovered was that the hail was filled with almost as many organic compounds as you might find in a typical river along with several species of bacteria that normally only live on plants.

The rain that falls on our heads is often considered to be very clean, but it seems that despite being distilled it still contains a lot of the bacteria we find in other water sources. "They may be growing in clouds, increasing in number and then modifying the chemistry in the cloud but also in the atmosphere indirectly," said study co-author Tina Santl Temkiv.
Some of bacteria found are ice-nucleators, meaning they can act as seeds for ice crystals to attach to in the clouds above Earth. When these same ice crystals get large enough, they fall as rain or snow, depending on the air temperature.


Source: Live Science | Comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Rolci 10 years ago
Phew... How lucky we discovered this after all these thousands of years of living in oblivion. But fear not, now we can live in the comfort of knowing. That was close... We almost didn't know for another 5000 years. Just think of the possible consequences...
Comment icon #12 Posted by Ratbiter 10 years ago
Someone's been reading readers Digest, this story was in their mag a few months ago, but it's interesting none the less even though it's only half the story.
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Someone's been reading readers Digest, this story was in their mag a few months ago, but it's interesting none the less even though it's only half the story. Uh, what's the other half? Hopefully "good news"
Comment icon #14 Posted by AsteroidX 10 years ago
Has anyone considered bacteria is not the worst thing in our rain clouds aka acid rain.
Comment icon #15 Posted by calaf 10 years ago
Phew... How lucky we discovered this after all these thousands of years of living in oblivion. But fear not, now we can live in the comfort of knowing. That was close... We almost didn't know for another 5000 years. Just think of the possible consequences... Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
Comment icon #16 Posted by Pupp3t 10 years ago
Maybe these microbacterial life grows up to be the sky serpents rarely seen in the sky!
Comment icon #17 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Maybe these microbacterial life grows up to be the sky serpents rarely seen in the sky! You just gave ammunition to sky serpent theorists. Shame on you.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Pupp3t 10 years ago
Score one for the Boys Back Home. Let's go home.
Comment icon #19 Posted by joc 10 years ago
Someone's been reading readers Digest, this story was in their mag a few months ago, but it's interesting none the less even though it's only half the story. I guess that would be you! Who reads Readers Digest anymore? I would...except they ruined the whole thing when they changed their format several years ago.
Comment icon #20 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Yeah, my wife gets RD and occassionaly I do glance through it. I usually dont read the articles, so I would be curious as to the "other half" of the story.


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