Scientists Confirm Some People Are Able To Smell When Rain Is Coming

By Abdul Rafay in Science and Technology On 5th June 2023
advertisement
Alamy

After the rain, a pleasant smell fills the air that people often recognize.

This scent becomes stronger when it follows a long stretch of sunny weather, similar to an April shower. Surprisingly, some people can even detect this familiar fragrance before the rain arrives.

advertisement
Follow On Google News
Alamy

If you are capable of it, it's a nice trick to keep from getting wet.

advertisement

However, are these claims supported by science or by superstition?

Many people are skeptical that it is possible to smell the rain before it falls, however, it is possible to do so after it has poured.

Follow On Twitter

'Petrichor' is the name given to the pleasing smell that fills the air following a period of heavy rain.

Greek words petros, which means stone (as in petrify), and ichor, which was the substance that flowed through the veins of the Greek Gods, are the origins of the phrase petrichor.

Petrichor, which was first used in 1964 by mineralogists Richard Thomas and Isabel Joy Bear, is thus almost equivalent to saying "the blood of the stone."

A bacteria found in the soil releases a chemical known as "geosmin," which is what gives out the odor.

advertisement

We are actually far better at smelling geosmin than sharks are at smelling blood, which is astonishing. Look at us being so impressive!

But why does it seem so appealing? In fact, there is a very excellent reason for that, it turns out. In order to draw organisms into the soil and spread the germs to other areas, the bacteria emit the odor.

Because raindrops can catch pockets of air when they hit the ground and flatten out, this is why the fragrance is so strong after rainfall. These then bubble up like small aerosols, carrying into the air any chemicals and microorganisms that may be present.

However, IFLScience found that there is another smell source that may have an effect on humans. 'Ozone' is the name of this substance.

advertisement

The scent of ozone is unique and sweeter than that of petrichor. Ozone smells can occasionally predict the arrival of a storm.

This is due to winds from the impending storm pushing pockets of ozone gas down to the ground. They will therefore be at a height where our nostrils will most likely be able to detect them.

So it appears that there is some truth to the rumor that some individuals can smell the rain coming.

advertisement