Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Moon Phase Affects Rainfall

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Moon Phase Affects Rainfall

Article excerpt

When the Moon is high in the sky, Earth's atmosphere bulges, creating imperceptible changes in the amount of rain that falls below, according to a new research paper.

"This is the first study to convincingly connect the tidal force of the Moon with rainfall," said Tsubasa Kohyama, a doctoral student at the University of Washington. Kohyama and his coauthor, a professor of atmospheric sciences, spent two years tracking down the phenomenon.

Air pressure changes linked to the phases of the Moon were first detected in 1847, and temperature in 1932, in ground-based observations. An earlier paper by the UW researchers used a global grid of data to confirm that air pressure on the surface definitely varies with the phases of the Moon.

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"When the Moon is overhead or underfoot, the air pressure is higher," Kohyama said.

Their new paper is the first to show that the Moon's gravitational tug also puts a slight damper on the rain.

When the Moon is overhead, its gravity causes Earth's atmosphere to bulge toward it, so the pressure or weight of the atmosphere on that side of the planet goes up. …

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