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May 27, 2014

What Causes the Smell After Rain


There are three primary sources of smells that commonly occur after rain.
The first, the "clean"€ smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone.  Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that is often described as similar to that of chlorine. Some people can smell ozone before the storm has even arrived.
-- Today

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 27, 2014 10:33 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

So, does "cold ozone" explain why I can smell the distinctive air of an impending snowstorm?

Posted by: CaptDMO at May 28, 2014 5:45 AM

Her name is Lilly.

I stepped out the front door of my office yesterday morn and it smelled like Easter.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 28, 2014 7:58 AM

I thought a lot of people could smell the ozone before the storm. I know I can. And that is such a beautiful picture.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 28, 2014 9:21 AM

I smell ozone when certain people walk into my office.

Posted by: Terry at May 28, 2014 3:07 PM

Little girl in rain jacket of blue,
hoping to water her flowers
with raindrops from heaven's cloud towers, or
perhaps with the cooled air's dew.
Imperial imp she is with a smile
and eyes born to laugh and beguile.
Mona Lisa is in awe, and salutes
this child's natural grace and style.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 28, 2014 4:34 PM

As snowstorms rarely produce lightning the smell would probably not be from ozone.

What all storms bring is dropping barometric pressure. In such circumstances the air in the surface soil layer tends to move up and out. In effect the Earth exhales - that is what causes the geosmin, and essential oils to travel up towards your nose.

Posted by: ThomasD at May 29, 2014 7:36 AM

Sheesh, you guys, this ain't the Starship Enterprise here.

It is pixie dust. Whenever it rains or snows the Precipitation Pixies awaken from their celestial slumber and visit with us, spreading their joy and gladness with pixie dust. Just as rain is angels' tears and snow is cookie crumbs from the angels' favorite cookies: coconut macaroons.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 29, 2014 9:25 AM

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