Bacteria 6 Miles Above Earth's Surface Impacting Climate

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Bacteria 6 miles above the surface is impacting climate.

Bacteria and fungi that live in our Earth’s atmosphere might be influencing certain aspects of weather.

Researchers have found a whole system of microbes including many types of bacteria and fungi that are living in the sky.

These microbes can survive the extreme conditions that exist at high altitude; and possibly collect water vapor and create clouds, potentially playing a part in creating rainstorms.

While samples of rainwater collected from Earth’s higher elevations show microbes with the ability to create condensation and ice crystals, these may have different properties from bacteria that live in the atmosphere.

A team of researchers from Georgia Tech University analyzed samples that were taken from over six miles above the earth.

They were able to identify around 144 bacterial cells in each cubic foot of air.

17 kinds of bacteria showed up in all of the samples, which may mean that these organisms make up a “core microbiome” that lives in our atmosphere.

Microbes found in samples from Earth possessed the ability to create ice crystals and alter the temperature at which they form by producing a certain protein. The possibility of these ice creating microbes living in our atmosphere could potentially affect global weather.

Scientists hypothesize that airborne disease could also travel and spread very quickly by surviving at high altitudes.

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