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, 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. It is a form of oxygen 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 is the smell of geosmin. It is 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.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 95 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 (34)
  • angelinat-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:34 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because it contains ozone which is a hard gas to bottle. The article says, "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." This shows that ozone is harmful and hard to bottle. I was interested in this article because I love the smell of rain. I was not surprised by his article because I would imagine that rain scent is hard to bottle.

    • joej-mcd
      3/14/2016 - 11:26 a.m.

      I agree with your comment. It would indeed be hard to bottle such rain smells.

  • josephd-6-bar
    3/10/2016 - 11:33 p.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain because it is probably hard to make the smell of the ozone. The smell is also hard to bottle because many things contribute to the smell. I think it would be cool if someone could make the smell of rain but it will be pretty hard. I chose this article because I like the smell of rain and I'm always happy when it rains.

  • carsonb-2-bar
    3/10/2016 - 11:38 p.m.

    When there is a rainstorm there are many different odors that you smell. There are three odors that are common around the world. Before it rains you smell ozone which is a form of oxygen created by lightning that floats down from high altitudes. After the rain starts plant oils get displaced by the rain and create another smell. The last smell is geosmin which is an organic compound created by bacteria in the soil.

    Although there have been many attempts, no one's been able to bottle the smell of rain. I think it's too difficult to capture the distinct smells because they are so unique. Combining the smells is too complicated. I liked the article because it explained how the different smells combine and make the smell of rain.

  • sofiat-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 11:40 p.m.

    Nobody has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because it takes everything in the environment around it to create the smell. Although it does not say this directly it explains how the smell is created and formed. I find it interesting that it would be this hard to figure out how to bottle it.

  • carlym-4-bar
    3/11/2016 - 12:34 a.m.

    No one has been able to bottle the smell of rain yet because the bacteria is hard to capture in a container. "And last but not least, that damp, musky smell after a storm passes is the smell of geosmin. It is 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."
    I found this article very interesting because I didn't know why rain smelled the way it did.

  • noahf-3-bar
    3/11/2016 - 10:13 a.m.

    Nobody has bottled the smell of rain yet, due to the many factors contributing to the actual smell of rain, for example the ozone in the air, and the plant oils displaced by the rain, all of it is too complex to imitate on a small scale.

    I thought this article was interesting because I did not know how the smell of rain occurred.

  • lizh-kut
    3/13/2016 - 01:40 p.m.

    In the first reasons why rain smells the way it does it said because of the ozone layer. This is interesting because the ozone layer is in the stratosphere and the stratosphere is above the troposphere. This is interesting to me because we can small the ozone layer.

  • claires-ver
    3/14/2016 - 02:56 p.m.

    The smell of rain is very distinctive. It is made up of three different smells. Ozone before the rain, Plant oils during, and geosmin after.

  • quintinj-orv
    3/14/2016 - 03:24 p.m.

    There are so many different smells, opinions, and different things that contribute to the smell of rain.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT