Nature & Environment
Storm clouds are crawling with bacteria
By T.K. Randall
January 24, 2013 · 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
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