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Bacteria make snow?

  1. Mar 1, 2008 #1

    it seems so:

    Brent C. Christner, Cindy E. Morris, Christine M. Foreman, Rongman Cai, David C. Sands;2008, Ubiquity of Biological Ice Nucleators in SnowfallScience 29 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5867, p. 1214 DOI: 10.1126/science.1149757

    Climate regulated by bacteria?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2008 #2
    Makes sense. Dandruff and skin particles could add to some of it as well.
  4. Mar 2, 2008 #3


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    Ice nucleating bacteria? cool!

    There's another article in ScienceDaily about this here:

    Looks like they're saying precipitation in the form of rain as well as just snow.

    I wonder what implications this has for evolution? If precipitation today is largely due to nucleation on bacteria, then that might imply that prior to bacteria, nucleation sites on dust particles may have resulted in less rain. Also, these bacteria seem to use the mechanism of the weather to propogate, so this mechanism of spreading biological life must have influenced Earth's history.
  5. Mar 9, 2008 #4
    The possibility that these bacteria could play a role in cloud formation was suggested as early as 1985.


    Snow resorts have been taking advantage of the ability to form ice crystals by using the bacteria in snow making machines.

    I haven't been able to find much about the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae in terms of how it aids ice crystal formation either as frost on plants or as airborne crystals. The research seems to be more focused on its genome and how it affects plants other than formation of frost.

    I would guess that it uses the latent heat in water vapor/liquid to provide its energy needs at least at times.

    It appears that the bacteria can form ice crystals at above freezing air temperatures.

    There needs to be more climate related research of this bacteria, but too much of the money apportioned to climate research is being wasted on worthless computer models that are supposed to be able to predict future climate even though no one knows how to model cloud formation.
  6. Mar 9, 2008 #5


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    If this is true, then this is epic.

    Kind of a "High, Cold Biosphere" instead of the "Deep, Hot Biosphere."
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
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