Pat Shingleton: "The Moon and Rain..."
Our last full moon was January 24th, often referred to by Native Americans as the "Full Wolf Moon." The next full moon will be February 22nd, identified as the "Full Snow Moon." Smithsonian Magazine reports that the moon may have additional influences to Earth. For many years it has been linked to the ebb and flow of ocean waters, compliments of the gravitational pull that cause the oceans to bulge toward it so slightly that water levels fluctuate. A new study suggests that the phase of the moon changes how much it rains on Earth. A doctoral student at the University of Washington detected a slight oscillation in Earth's air pressure that corresponded with different moon phases. Further research over 15 years of weather data corresponded to rainfall on Earth. The same forces that cause the tidal bulge or lumps in the Earth's oceans also cause another phenomenon. Researchers found that at any given time two opposing forces that create the bulges of water are caused by gravity while the other is caused by inertia. The side of the planet that is closer to the moon is drawn in by Earth's gravity and overcomes the inertia that pulls it in the opposite direction. On the opposite side, away from the moon's tug, inertia is greater than the gravity pull and forms another bulge. When the moon is directly overhead, atmospheric pressure glides with the atmospheric bulge and as high pressure is linked to higher temperatures, molecules heat, hold more moisture, reduces humidity and lower chances for rain. After moon-set, the tug weakens, lower air pressure is recorded and the colder air molecules can't hold the moisture and rain occurs. This data will assist in creating additional climate models.