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Feb 01, 2016 11:47 AM EST

Moon's Gravity Affects Amount of Rainfall on Earth

Researchers at the University of Washington have found a link between the moon's position and the amount of rainfall the Earth gets.

"As far as I know, this is the first study to convincingly connect the tidal force of the moon with rainfall," Tsubasa Kohyama, a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences, said in a press release.

Kohyama and John (Michael) Wallace, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences, published a study on their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. They spent two years tracking rainfall with the moon's corresponding position.

Kohyama and Wallace published a study in the same journal in Dec. 2014 linking air pressure to the moon's position. Wherever the moon's gravity is strongest, that area of the Earth's atmosphere has higher air pressure. More pressure leads to warmer air and warmer air can hold more moisture, thus less rainfall.

"It's like the container becomes larger at higher pressure," Kohyama said. "Lower humidity is less favorable for precipitation.

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

The next phase of the researchers' work will be to determine if the moon's position is an indicator of different types of rain like downpours and drizzles.

(Source: UW Today)

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