Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
Why does rain have such a distinctive smell? (Thinkstock)
Why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
Lexile: 890L
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

You asked us, why does rain have such a distinctive smell?
 
Although a rainstorm drums up 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're sniffing. Ozone is a form of oxygen. It is created by lightning that floats down from much higher altitudes. Way up in the atmosphere, ozone protects our planet from the sun's harmful rays. But down at ground level, harmful concentrations of the gas create things like smog.
 
But let's get back to the question.
 
After rain starts to fall, another smell wafts up. Petrichor hits our noses when plant oils get displaced by rain and are carried into the air.
 
And last but not least, that damp, musky smell after a storm passes? That's the smell of geosmin, an organic compound created by bacteria in soil.
 
Although there have been many attempts, no one's been able to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain just yet.
 
So the next time a good summer storm rolls in, take the time to drink in those sweet, elusive scents.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/why-does-rain-have-such-distinctive-smell/

Filed Under:  
Assigned 578 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 (166)
  • maggiec-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 07:33 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain because the smell after rain falls is made from a reaction with plants. In paragraph five it says "After rain starts to fall, another smell wafts up. Petrichor hits our noses when plant oils get displaced by rain and are carried into the air." People aren't able to make a bottle of the rain smell because they are not able to access this. I know that some people don't like the smell of rain but I personally really like it. If someone ever figured out how to bottle it I would definitely buy it.

  • zackd-kut
    3/10/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

    This is pretty cool because i never knew that the rain had a smell. Also I never knew that before a storm you can smell ozone. The last thing that was cool was that people tried to bottle the smell, that would be hard to do.

  • colek-1-bar
    3/10/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

    Nobody has been able to perfectly bottle the smell of rain yet because the smell of rain comes from many different chemicals and substances. The three main chemicals and other substances that make up the smell of rain are, "Ozone is a form of oxygen[...]Petrichor hits our noses when plant oils get displaced by rain and are carried into the air[...]the smell of geosmin, an organic compound created by bacteria in soil." (paragraph 3, 5, 6). Many of these smells come from natural pollutants such as ozone, but they can also be manmade pollutants in the smell too such as smog. All these chemicals and smells make up the smell of rain, and many others we are still trying to figure out. That is why scientists have not been able to perfectly capture the smell of rain. I thought this article was interesting and found part of the smell being ozone surprising.

    • loganp-jen
      9/01/2016 - 11:18 a.m.

      Because when the petrichor hits your nose then the smell of the ozone starts to fade

  • autianae-ste
    3/10/2016 - 08:48 p.m.

    I've always wondered what caused those smells. That's how I always tell if a storm is approaching.

  • calvinh-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 09:07 p.m.

    Nobody has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because of the circumstances needed to create the various "smells of rain". In order for one to create the smell of rain one must be able to mix petrichor, geosmin, and ozone together. Ozone could have a harmful reaction with one of these other gases.
    I think that no one will be able to make rain scented detergent that actually smells like rain because manufacturers also need to add chemicals to prevent the mixture from going bad which would take away from the real scent.

  • gabriellek-1-bar
    3/10/2016 - 09:13 p.m.

    The reason why nobody has been able to bottle up the smell of rain yet is because the smells is in the air and it is very hard to put air into a jar so you can open it and smell it. I was very interested in learning about how the different smells form. I was surprised that the ozone layer smells sweet and I am interested in learning more about this topic.

  • lilyr-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 09:24 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because the smell goes away too fast. This is shown where it says,"Although there have been many attempts, no one's been able to bottle the perfectly heady smell of rain just yet." I found this article interesting because I didn't know that more than one chemicals went into the smell of rain.

  • colbys-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:04 p.m.

    I am not sure if "bottle" stands for something so I will answer in two ways. No one has been able to bottle up the smell of rain because it is made of gasses that only occur when it has rained. No one has been able to create the smell of rain because it is a mix of chemicals and gasses that come from the ozone. This article was interesting because I have smelt the smell after rain.

  • briannt-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:23 p.m.

    Anyone hasn't been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because the smell is hardy smell. Before it rains the smell of a sweet fresh scent, which is coming from the ozone layer, during the rain it smells like petrichor, and after the rain it smells like geosmin. I choose this article because I have never smelt the rain, or smelled it, I thought that it didn't have any smell.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT