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The smell of rain has a name

There's science behind the scent you smell when rain is about to fall.
The amazing scent of Arizona rain filled the air during a storm on Feb. 28, 2015.

There's just something about the smell of Arizona rain. Now, there's a word for that scent we all love. It's called petrichor.

CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, came up with the word, which is made up of the Greek word "petra" (stone) and "ichor" (blood of the gods in Greek mythology).

Petrichor is the pleasant perfume a rainstorm brings when oil is released from the ground into the air. It's most fragrant when it finally rains after a dry spell.

Did you ever notice the aroma actually fills the air before the first raindrop hits the ground? Scientists found that the increasing humidity alone fills the pores of rocks, soils, plants, etc. The tiny water droplets then flush the oil from the ground and petrichor is carried away by the wind. The rain that follows just keeps spreading that special scent.

The rocks, soils and plants in our state are unique to Arizona, so the perfume our rain gives off is also one-of-a-kind. I guess you could call it Arizona N°5.

CSIRO scientists first described petrichor in 1964, in a paper called "Nature of Argillaceous Odour." Then CSIRO scientists went on to study the cause behind the sent and coined their discovery -- petrichor.

You'll get a chance to enjoy that unique smell soon, chances for rain are in the forecast later this week.

For the most up to date weather forecast across Arizona, go to 12news.com/weather or download the 12 News app.

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