So, this morning I was talking to a friend about astronomical observations, and he told me that lately there has only been good weather when there was a full moon in the sky, which was a shame.

I jokingly said: 'maybe there's a correlation!', but then I started thinking: wait, if the moon can affect the oceans, why shouldn't it also make an impact on the atmosphere, which is just another fluid. So... are there atmospheric tides? Does the moon affect the weather or the climate in a significant way?

  • $\begingroup$ There is a lot of folklore of the moon affecting weather for example :almanac.com/content/moon-lore-weather . Greece being a nation of mainly fishermen and sailors for example : expect the weather to change every quarter moon dry/wet cold/hot windy/calm. $\endgroup$ – anna v Nov 9 '13 at 16:27

It might affect climate, but not on the time scale of a month, and does not significantly affect the weather.

The fact that the moon exists may significantly stabilise the inclination of the Earth relative to the Sun. This, in turn, affects climate in the long run. The debate is ongoing. For example, see long term axial tilt (Wikipedia):

The Moon has a stabilizing effect on Earth's obliquity. Frequency map analysis suggests that, in the absence of the Moon, the obliquity can change rapidly due to orbital resonances and chaotic behavior of the Solar System, reaching as high as 90° in as little as a few million years. However, more recent numerical simulations suggest that even in the absence of the Moon, Earth's obliquity could be considerably more stable; varying only by about 20-25°. The Moon's stabilizing effect will continue for less than 2 billion years. If the Moon continues to recede from the Earth due to tidal acceleration, resonances may occur which will cause large oscillations of the obliquity.

There are also atmospheric tides, but lunar atmospheric tides are very weak. To detect a lunar signal in weather patterns can be difficult, because other signals are so much larger, and there is noise too. So if your friend thinks it's only been good weather during full moons, that's either a coincidence or confirmation bias.

  • $\begingroup$ Would think a better summary giving magnitudes or scales of the expected fluctuations derived from the theory would be useful, especially to novices, as even for me with a fair background in atmospheric dynamics, that Wikipedia link proves fairly obtuse. Or alternatively, observational studies or reviewed research giving a clearer summary. I've certainly seen nothing to suggest any such variability, but approached by a novice with pretty complex beliefs on the subject who spent a lot of time in observation, I didn't have much to offer him. And unfortunately this answer changes that little :-( $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Apr 5 '17 at 9:31

The moon DOES affect weather but not significantly.

Just like it affects ocean tides, it affects the atmosphere in a similiar way. When the moon is full or new for example, it creates a "bulge" in an ocean, which is why we have tides. A similar thing happens with the atmosphere; it attracts the atmosphere to itself.

When the Sun, moon and Earth line up, and the moon is at its perigee (closest to the Earth), you can expect lower temperatures. This is due to the combined gravitational pull of the moon and the Sun.

Nobody is completely sure how the moon affects weather exactly, but it doesn't affect it significantly.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it doesn't affect at all. $\endgroup$ – user124734 Jul 28 '16 at 3:09

There are tides in rocks and those tides affect volcanoes and volcanoes can affect climate.



If the moon is on the opposite side of the planet while the sun is over our heads, I would be under the impression the moon pulling the atmosphere towards it would allow warmer days or cooler nights as the atmosphere is thinner during this time.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe that you are talking about lunar atmospheric tides that gerrit says are rather weak, so your impression is a little wrong. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Aug 17 '15 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ With this reasoning, shouldn't it be warmer at the tops of the Andes and Himalayan (and other) mountain ranges? $\endgroup$ – Bill N Aug 17 '15 at 15:26

I think the moon and sun do affect the weather more than we are led to believe, the moon is getting farther away and the sun is getting larger, these both must have an impact on earth. The suns solar flares and mass corona ejections also play a part.

I believe small changes in the moons orbit and distance and the suns swelling has a bigger impact on the weather than anything man can achieve.

Scientists are getting to hung up on the man made climate change Idea and need to broaden there thinking and not be afraid to speak out.


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