Rainfall Is Affected by the Phases of the Moon

Although is it not really noticeable, rainfall is affected by the phases of the moon.

According to a new study, rainfall is affected by the phases of the moon. The phenomenon happens when the moon creates some sort of bulges in the atmosphere of Earth that lead to variations for the amount of raindrops that fall on our planet.

The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Washington, and their study is expected to be published in the Geophysical Research Letters scientific journal. Its conclusion points towards the fact that the gravity of the moon determines the atmosphere of our planet to bulge in its direction. Thus, the atmosphere pressure of that region on Earth goes up. Even though each phase of the moon does influence the rain’s amount, the changes are almost imperceptible.

National Climatic Data Center climate scientist Peter Thorne has stated before that lunar phases can be held accountable for only 1% or 2 % of the changes in stream runoff or rainfall. Other researchers could not reach a clear conclusion to this phenomenon.

However, if we were to take a look at the past, we could see that back in the 1960s and 1970s some scientists did believe that the magnetosphere could be distorted by the orbit of the moon. The magnetosphere is an area formed from ionized particles that surrounds the magnetic field of Earth. As a result, this might influence particles to pass into the atmosphere from space. Upon their collision with the clouds, they can trigger the rain to start falling.

A doctoral student in the field of atmospheric sciences at University of Washington, Tsubasa Kohyama, stated that this is the first time researchers connected the phases of the moon to rainfall. Together with John Michael Wallace, atmospheric sciences professor at University of Washington, Kohyama discovered an air pressure oscillation while studying atmospheric waves for two whole years.

This air pressure change was first documented in 1847, while temperature change in 1932. This is not the first time University of Washington confirms the theory, as a previous research study concluded that surface air pressure is influenced by the phases of the moon. It seems that air pressure tends to be higher when the moon is underfoot or overhead.

However, this is the first time we can be sure that rainfall is affected by the phases of the moon, since researchers used about fifteen years of data from NASA, as well as fourteen years of data from the Rainfall Measuring Mission of the Aerospace Exploration Agency from Japan.

Image SourcePlanets for Kids

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