image of FIGURE 2

Schematic representation of the life cycle of microorganisms in the atmosphere, of which the main steps are indicated in grey boxes. Microbes are emitted from surfaces (water, soil, vegetation), get airborne and transported upward by turbulent fluxes. They are subject to environmental conditions (indicated in red boxes) in the atmosphere that likely filter for the more resistant of them. In cloud droplets, viable microorganisms can participate to the degradation of organic compounds, and some species can nucleate freezing and, in theory, induce precipitations. They are finally wet deposited and in a position for colonizing new environments.

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