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News Picks : Moon can affect rainfall on Earth

By: Physics Today
02 February 2016
NPR: Not only does the Moon affect Earth’s tides, but now it has been shown to affect the planet’s weather patterns as well. In an earlier study, Tsubasa Kohyama and John Wallace of the University of Washington had noted that the Moon’s position affects the air pressure on Earth’s surface. In their latest study, which has been published in Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers examined satellite data and found a correlation between the presence of the Moon directly overhead and a slight dip in rainfall on Earth’s surface. The reason, they say, is that the Moon’s gravity pulls on Earth’s atmosphere, which causes an increase in air pressure and a corresponding rise in temperature. Because warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air, there is less chance of precipitation.

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