Nature Word of the Month: Petrichor

Have you ever noticed that there is sometimes a particular smell after a rain?  I remember as a kid wondering if I might be the only one who smelled the rain.  Well, it turns out I wasn’t.  Scientists actually study the smells of wet weather and back in 1964 two Australian scientists coined a term for that pleasant scent: Petrichor.

Nature Word of the Month: PetrichorPetrichor occurs after a dry spell and most commonly after a light rain.  The rain causes the air bubbles in porous surfaces to rise up and release their aerosols – a combination of plant oils and a chemical compound called geosmin.   Heavy rains can wash them away.  You can read more about it and even watch a video here.

So next time it rains, grab your wellies and your kids and head outside to experience it with all of your senses!

Have a wonder-filled week.


P.S. There is also a distinct smell during a heavy rain, especially a thunderstorm, that’s noticeable sometimes even just before it starts.  This smell is caused by ozone.

P.P.S. If you missed it, you can find last month’s word here.


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