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Q & A: phase of the moon and weather

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Q:
IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHASES OF THE MOON AND OUR WEATHER
- GEORGE
NEW ZEALAND
A:
I can't imagine why there would be. [but see below] The phase of the moon does affect the tides, however.

Some computer programmers, in frustration at not being able to find the reason why their programs crash, call some bugs "phase-of-the-moon-dependent". This is intended as a joke, indicating that they have no clue what their bugs depended on, and the phase of the moon was chosen because it could not possibly have an effect on their programs.

Of course people search for correlations between random phenomena and sometimes can come up with false ones. If you look long enough at time sequences, you might find an interval of time in which the phase of the moon and some feature of the weather are correlated, but if you look on longer timescales, they go away.

Tom

I would bet with Tom, but since the moon does drive the strongest tides, and these could possibly influence weather, I wouldnít be 100% sure. Thatís in contrast to, say, astrology, for which we understand things well enough to say for sure that itís nonsense. mike w.

(republished on 07/19/06)

Follow-Up #1: tides and weather

Q:
well thats a question of geography. if you live next to a sea, lets say on an island, than your weather is definately effected by tides and so it does depend on moon phase. In israel, lets weather is controll.ed by the sea and so we do get marked increase in chances for rain in winter in correlation with the mon phases. I would guess this does not apply to illinois
- yinon
israel
A:
You may be confusing the moon's phase with tides in the earth.   The moon's phase goes through a complete 360o degree cycle every 27.32 days.  There are two high tides and two low tides per day. (Approximately 12.5 hours between successive high tides.)   Correlations between tidal phases and changes in weather during that short of time are minimal or nonexistent.  Longer term correlations between the phase of the moon and the weather have been extensively studied.  None have been found.
See: http://www.astro.uu.nl/~strous/AA/en/antwoorden/maan.html#6_5_1

LeeH



(published on 12/28/09)

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