If there are viruses in the earth and in the water, it should be expected to exist in the atmosphere as well. Until now, however, it has not been known how many such microorganisms are found in the sky. A recent study revealed that trillions of viruses are falling from the sky.
800 million viruses are present on every square meter of the sky, every day
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have come to the conclusion that more than 800 million viruses are present on every square meter of the atmosphere, daily, that is, “25 viruses per person in Canada,” according to Curtis Suttle, a virologist and one of the authors of the study.
These viruses are found in the lower layer of the atmosphere, at around 1.9 miles altitude, that is where the weather conditions are formed.
Trillions of viruses are falling from the sky
The new discovery, along with the previous ones, also explains why the same type of virus can be found in two parts of the globe at significant distances from one another.
Suttle and his team wanted to find out how the viruses reached the altitudes of 1.9 miles. They installed two collectors on platforms above the boundary of the atmospheric layer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Scientists have found that there were millions of bacteria and billions of viruses stored on each square meter in the troposphere.
This study confirms an older one conducted by the USDA Forest Service researchers who revealed that over a trillion of viruses per square meter fall on the ground each year.
Alarming number but no harm, in fact
The presence of viruses in this amount in the troposphere does not necessarily mean devastating as we have lived so far without even knowing about them. However, they can affect new ecosystems because of the ease with which they can migrate.
Moreover, viruses are not just pathogens. It has been seen to play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle and there are also viruses that kill harmful bacteria in humans, so the presence of viruses in the sky is not a reason for concern.