They may be responsible for creating clouds and rain
Today, scientists have uncovered how tiny bacteria — nature’s ice machines — create ice crystals. By bringing the cold, these incredible organisms are believed to create clouds and cause snow and rain. Though the new study, published today in the journal Science Advances, doesn’t confirm whether these are rain-making bacteria, it points to how exactly they turn water into ice.
The bacteria, Pseudomonas syringae, have equipped themselves to cause the cold with proteins that create ice crystals at temperatures that don’t normally freeze water. P. syringae live on agricultural crops, plants, and trees and use their ice-making abilities to cause frost damage. The ice crystals they produce basically shatter plants’ tissues so the bacteria can access the plants’ nutrients. We’ve even harnessed these organisms for our own purposes: P. syringae are routinely used to make artificial snow in ski resorts around the world.