When the moon is directly overhead, less rain falls, scientists from the University of Washington (UW) recently discovered.
UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences Tsubasa Kohyama suspected there might be a correlation between atmospheric waves and oscillating air pressure. To confirm his suspicions, Kohyama and his atmospheric sciences professor John Wallace began studying years of data.
And 15 years of data from 1998 to 2012 collected by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) confirmed the scientists’ assumption: Earth’s rainfall is connected to the moon.
“When the moon is overhead or underfoot, the air pressure is higher,” Kohyama explained in a statement, allowing for more moisture. “It’s like the container becomes larger at higher pressure.”
In other words, when the moon is high overhead – or at its peak – its gravitational pull causes the Earth’s atmosphere to bulge towards it, simultaneously increasing atmospheric pressure. Higher pressure increases air temperature, and warmer air can hold more moisture, making it less likely to dump its moisture contents.
An earlier study by Kohyama and Wallace published in 2014 confirmed that air pressure on the Earth surface rose higher during certain phases of the moon, specifically when it was directly overhead or underfoot.
But the recent study published Saturday in Geophysical Research Letters is the first of its kind.
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SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor, Story Hinckley