22 Aug '11, 12pm

The Long Strange Journey Of Earth’s Traveling Microbes

The Long Strange Journey Of Earth’s Traveling Microbes

The Long Strange Journey Of Earth’s Traveling Microbes Airborne microbes — such as bacteria, fungal spores, and tiny algae — can travel thousands of miles and high into the stratosphere. Now scientists are beginning to understand their possible role in creating clouds, causing rain, spreading disease, and even changing climate. by fred pearce Consider the African rain dance. People in tribal costumes stamping the ground to make rain — it’s nonsense, you might say. Except that we now know it could actually work. If you have enough dancers, there may be no better way to make rain, because bugs in the soil and surface vegetation make exceptionally good cloud- and ice-condensation nuclei — and rain dances stir them up. Microbes, it turns out, are the hidden players in the atmosphere, making clouds, causing rain, spreading diseases between continents, and maybe even changing cl...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_long_strange_journey_of_...

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