If you ever thought that you could escape harmful viruses and bacteria by moving to some pristine corner of the world, you are terribly mistaken.
A new research has revealed that an alarming number of microorganisms rain incessantly from the sky. So there's no chance that you can escape the viruses and bacteria, nowhere in this world!
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have recorded the number of viruses which get swept from Earth's surface to the troposphere every day. The scientists then figured out the number of the microbes that fall back to Earth's surface.
The researchers found that once the viruses reach the troposphere, they can travel up to thousands of kilometers before they fall back to the Earth's surface.
Troposphere refers to the layer of the atmosphere where the jet planes fly, it is situated below the stratosphere.
Seaspray and soil-dust particles can send virus and bacteria into the atmosphere.
"Roughly 20 years ago we began finding genetically similar viruses occurring in very different environments around the globe," said Curtis Suttle, author of the study, was quoted by Mail Online.
"Bacteria and viruses are typically deposited back to earth via rain events and Saharan dust intrusions," Suttle elucidated.
The cohort of researchers wanted to find out how much material would travel to the altitude of 2,500 - 3,000 meters, past the atmospheric boundary layer. Particles can be transported to longer distances at these altitudes, spreading the microbes across the globe.
Suttle, who is based out of Canada, collaborated with researchers from Spain and US for this study.
The number of viruses and bacteria deposited on Earth per square meter each day were recorded by researchers in Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains which reaches the height of more than 3,400 meters.
The researchers found that the strands of millions of viruses and bacteria present per square meter depleted each day.
"Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter above the planetary boundary layer. That's 25 viruses for each person in Canada," Suttle was quoted by Mail Online.
"This preponderance of long-residence viruses traveling the atmosphere likely explains why [viruses have been popping up in different places around the globe]. It's quite conceivable to have a virus swept up into the atmosphere on one continent and deposited on another," Suttle said further.
As per the findings made by the researchers in Spain, the rate of viruses deposited on Earth was nine to 461 times greater than the bacteria's deposition rates.
It was also found that the rates at which the viruses travel by rain and Saharan dust intrusions differed.
The rain was less efficient in removing viruses from the atmosphere, said study author Isabel Reche.
Reche's team found that sea spray seemed to have swept most viruses into the air that they examined.
Viruses tend to stick to lighter and smaller organic particles which are suspended in gas and air, this allows the viruses to stay in the air for longer, Mail Online.