Why Can’t We Smell Things When It’s Cold?

Do things smell worse in the winter… or summer? How and why does temperature affect our sense of smell?

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How We Smell: The Molecular And Cellular Bases Of Olfaction
“Three models for the perception of odor molecules are suggested for the first time by experimental data. These studies illustrate how the nose may smell. Moreover, they suggest additional role(s) for odor receptors within and outside the olfactory system.”

An Environmental Nuisance: Odor Concentrated And Transported By Dust
“Intensive swine production generates odorous emissions which flow from the buildings housing the animals. High ventilation rates bring in fresh air, remove heat and moisture and enhance pork productivity. Numerous compounds contribute to the uniquely offensive odors from swine facilities, including fatty acids, amines, aromatics and sulfur compounds. Dust particles, which originate predominantly from feces and feed, can adsorb and concentrate odorants in swine facilities.”

Ooooh, That Smell! Odors Rise With The Temperature
“Your nose doesn’t lie – odors intensify in the warm summer months, be they of rotting garbage on the sidewalk or fragrant flowers blooming in a garden.
The combination of heat and humidity allows bacteria to grow faster and smells to travel farther, said Victoria Henshaw, who researches urban smells throughout the world.
“The air becomes a smelly soup that we all breathe in,” Henshaw said.”


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