DEC 30, 2017 12:10 PM PST

Bacteria can Help Make Snow

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Clouds are made of ice crystals or droplets, and it may surprise you to know that they also contain microorganisms. As clouds build up moisture, they generally need something to grab onto so rain droplets or snowflakes can form, giving them the name condensation nuclei. Precipitation can form around specks of dust floating in the air, but a microbe will fit the bill as well. These microorganisms can also influence the temperature at which snow forms.

When condensation forms around a living microbe, it's referred to as bioprecipitation, and it has been observed by scientists who collected snow in a variety of different places on earth. They showed that indeed, bacteria is able to help the formation of snow along. These bacteria seem to be able to cover large distances, surviving in those clouds long enough to move basically everywhere around the globe. It has also been suggested that these microbes are a kind of plant bacteria, which may be impacting our weather. Check out the video to learn more.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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