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WHY WINTER SMELLS WONDERFUL
by Dara Winters on January 15, 2021
When stepping outside on a cold winter morning oron asnowy day,theair often has a particular smell that isdifficult to put into words.What most people don’t realise is that there are a fewfactors that play apart in the‘smell of winter’that rangefrom physical factors and psychological factors.
It’s not that there are less smells in winter, the odour particles move less.
In warmer temperatures, odour particlesare much more efficient in becoming air born compared to colder temperatures. This is exactly why a pile of rubbish will have a more unpleasant and potent smell in theheat compared to a cold day. It is also whyfoodsmells stronger after you’veheated it up compared to when you’ve just taken it out the fridge.If you’ve not notices this, give it a test next time you heat up some cold food in the microwave!
We have receptors in our nose that are responsible for the detection of odourscalled olfactory receptors.During the colder months, our olfactory receptors bury themselves deep down inour noses to protect themselves from harsher environments, almost as if they were hibernating. This plays a partin why winter may have a more subtlypleasant smell compared to warmer weatheras it is less able to detect moreof theunpleasant smells in the air.
Something called the trigeminal nerve.
There is a nerve in the human body that gets stimulated when breathing in cold air called the trigeminal nerve. Thisnerve is responsible for the tingly sensations caused by spicy food and mint. This could be a reason as to why the smell of cold air is associated with “fresh” and “clean”.
Everyone will have something specific that they associate with snow, whether it be a cup of hot chocolate, a log fire orChristmas trees. This will most likely have an impact oneach person as they will essentially smell what they want to smell or what they associate winter time to be.In this instance you could say this is a classic example of mind over matter.
It is safe to say that our noses areconditioned to work better in warmer temperatures.Next time you’re outfor your daily winter stroll, take a big deep breath and remind yourself of why it smells so wonderful.
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