It seems that it’s not simply appreciation that makes rain scent so good after a lengthy time of dryness. There is also some science responsible. Microbes, vegetation, and even thunder can all contribute to the wonderful fragrance of breathable air and damp earth that we encounter after a downpour.

The aroma, known as petrichor, has long been pursued by researchers and even perfumers due to its persistent allure. It’s also not all in your thoughts. Petrichor, the wonderful, earthen scent of rainfall, is generated by the emission of certain chemicals when rain falls on the ground. It’s almost as though the planet is praising everyone for enduring horrific rainstorms.

Streptomyces, a land bacteria, secretes a chemical called geosmin. When rain falls on the earth, the droplets trap geosmin-containing air pockets. The bubbles proceed through the raindrop and explode as aerosols, which are even tiny particles scattered in the air. Because our nostrils are particularly sensitive to geosmin, we can detect it once it has gotten off the soil and then into the air.

A mixture of plant oils is yet another component that contributes to petrichor, as some plants release oils during periods of famine. When it ultimately rains, the accumulated oils are emitted into the air in the very same way as geosmin is.

A lightning strike can separate oxygen and nitrogen, which can then reunite to make nitrous oxide, one of the molecules required to produce ozone. That chemical is well-known for emitting a strong, contaminant odour. And this odour is what we inhale.

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