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Moon Rainfall: Lunar Phases Affect Earth's Precipitation?

Image: Moon Rainfall: Lunar Phases Affect Earth's Precipitation?
(Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Feb 2016 11:13 AM

The moon can affect rainfall on Earth with its lunar phases and tidal forces, but probably not enough for anyone to notice, suggests a new study. 

The study by University of Washington researchers published in Geophysical Research Letters last week found that when the moon is overhead, its gravity causes the Earth's atmosphere to bulge toward it, leading to the atmosphere's pressure and weight to go up, too, according to a university release.

The study suggested that the higher pressure pushes up the temperature of lower air parcels, allowing them to hold more moisture.

"As far as I know, this is the first study to convincingly connect the tidal force of the moon with rainfall," said Tsubasa Kohyama, a corresponding author at the University of Washington.

Kohyama and fellow researcher John Wallace reviewed data from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite gathered from 1998 to 2012. Launched in 1997, the the mission was a joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to study rainfall for weather and climate research. The satellite's mission concluded in 2015, noted NASA.

The examination showed about a one percent of total rainfall variation when the moon was high, but not enough for humans to see a difference.

"No one should carry an umbrella just because the moon is rising," said Kohyama.

The moon's and sun's effect on oceans creating high and low tides are well known, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's ocean service education website.

Wallace said his future research will examine if the moon's position is connected to certain categories of rain, like heavy downpours, and its frequency.

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The moon can affect rainfall on Earth with its lunar phases and tidal forces, but probably not enough for anyone to notice, suggests a new study.
moon, rainfall, lunar, phases, earth, precipitation
296
2016-13-02
Tuesday, 02 Feb 2016 11:13 AM
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