Why does rain have such a distinctive smell? (Thinkstock)
Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

You asked us a question. Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
 
A rainstorm has all kinds of different odors. Three are common the world round.
 
You know that sweet fresh smell that rolls in on the wind right before a storm? That's ozone you smell. Ozone is a form of oxygen. It is created by lightning. It floats down from much higher altitudes. 

Ozone protects our planet from the sun's harmful rays. That happens way up in the atmosphere. Down at ground level, harmful concentrations of the gas create things like smog.
 
But let's get back to the question.
 
Another smell wafts up after the rain starts to fall. That smell is petrichor. The smell occurs when plant oils get displaced by rain and are carried into the air.
 
Last but not least is the damp, musky smell that happens after a storm passes. That smell is geosmin. It is an organic compound. It's created by bacteria in soil.
 
There have been many attempts to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain. But so far, no one's been able to do so.
 
Look out for when the next good summer storm rolls in. Take the time to drink in those sweet, elusive scents.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 418 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why hasn't anyone been able to bottle the smell of rain yet?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (52)
  • leilanih-4-bar
    3/12/2016 - 02:06 a.m.

    Rain has a distininct smell and we can make that scent manmade yet. Often it doesn't rain a lot so it would be hard to find each component that contributes to the smell of rain. I personally love this smell and I believe if we could bottle it that would be a huge hit and could make a lot of money because many people love the smell of rain also.

  • jennas-kut
    3/13/2016 - 09:44 p.m.

    wow I didn't know that there were 3 different smells from rain! I also thought that ozone was made a different way but this is what it really meant and now I understand.

  • danielj-1-ver
    3/14/2016 - 08:50 a.m.

    The reason that there is that smell after it rains its because of the ozone that protects our planet from the sun and its a mix with lightning and storms

  • savannah-hym
    3/14/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle of rain yet because there are many different partsto the perfect smell of rain with many different components. There have been many attempts to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain.so far, no one has been able to.

  • janiyaw-nor
    3/15/2016 - 10:03 a.m.

    Rain has a smell..... How weird, lightning is oxygen apperently

  • ahneezad-ver
    3/18/2016 - 02:31 p.m.

    The smell we smell before the rain comes is called Ozone, Ozone is a type of oxygen. Also created by lightening and keeps away the Suns harmful rays.

  • yisennias-ver
    3/18/2016 - 02:33 p.m.

    the smell doesn't get trapped in the bottle like the rain it just evaporates in seconds .

  • jamiet-wie
    3/31/2016 - 07:46 p.m.

    It rain this morning and yesterday so it has rained here for a couple days maybe even tomorrow to!!!

  • jareds-wie
    4/01/2016 - 01:14 a.m.

    Because it hasn't rain hard enough yet to be able ,to bottle the smell of the rain

  • spencerh1-pro
    4/04/2016 - 11:38 a.m.

    No one has bottled rain and captured the smell because it is organic,and is distinct.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT