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Bacteria Assists in Formation of Ice and Snow

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Chances are, that pile of snow in your yard contains bacteria — but not because it's dirty. New work in the journal Science suggests that bacteria may have played an important role in guiding the formation of the snow and rain forming ice crystals found in high-level clouds.

The researchers looked at snow samples from around the globe — including Montana, France and Antarctica — and found that cells and cell fragments were a significant part of the aerosol particles that lead to the formation of ice and raindrops.

Brent C. Christner, a member from the research team, talks with guest host Joe Palca about the connection between microbiology and meteorology.



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