My Cart     Check Out

Blame The Weather On The Moon


Blame The Weather On The Moon


Although Ken discovered his technique by accident 25 years ago, he is convinced something like it would have been utilised by the builders of Stonehenge at least 12,000 years ago.


On the afternoon of June 9th, 1995 in wild, atrocious weather, Ansett 708 piloted by Gary Sotheran flew over the hilly Tararuas near Palmerston North in NZ and from 16kms away began his approach to the Palmerston North airport. But as we know, his plane never reached the airport. In the court case that followed the fatal accident, Mr Southeran said he observed his altimeter suddenly drop 1000ft even as he looked at it, but this suggestion was greeted with scorn from the prosecution.


Bill Waters is a long retired topdressing pilot formerly of the Bay of Plenty but now living in West Auckland. There was one day he remembers vividly because he was convinced he was going to crash. It was August 12, 1958 and he was flying under load to Opotiki over the Waiotahi Valley foothills at the edge of Urewera country in the mid-afternoon. Bill recalls that he found there was suddenly no air to gain height. With some anxiety, he headed back to Tauranga to land. But he couldn't even get over the small hills and had to go through them at very low altitude. He circled the Tauranga harbour in an effort to sort out the problem, but gave up and landed at the airport. He was rather shaken by the experience, especially when inspection checks revealed absolutely no mechanical problems. Bill was convinced the atmosphere must have had something to do with it.


The notion that some plane crashes over hilly terrain can be attributed to the moon is weird at first glance. It has scarcely been suggested before. But I suggest readers pursue the rest of this article with an open mind. It so happens that there are times in the day and month when air density, or height of the atmosphere at all levels can suddenly and without warning get thinner. These periods are potentially dangerous for propeller-driven aircraft that rely on a mass of air for those propellers to pull on. In such a tunnel hole of air, the propellers will fail to create forward thrust putting the plane in danger of falling out of the sky. These air variations coincide with the behaviour of the moon.


The moon, if you remember is that thing that a bunch of astronauts visited in 1968 and on whose surface only sighted a few boring rocks, confirming popular belief that the planet was dead, lifeless, powerless and of little practical value to science. And wasn’t it the very same evil moon that was always the symbol of pagan religions, and associated with witchcraft, demon astrology and cats?  The moon moves 13 degrees per day through the sky and does 13 orbits per year. And isn’t 13 unlucky?


It is therefore not surprising that anything associated with the moon is not going to receive the massive research funding that is always available for other science. Subtle changes in atmosphere that may be caused by the moon go unnoticed and are not picked up by meteorologists, because meteorology only monitors changes in barometric pressure and in this scenario pressure is not necessarily involved. It is a case of expediency. It is necessary to be able to compare pressures at different locations around the globe, so sea-level is chosen as the standard. The atmosphere is assumed to have no height(being at sea-level) and so any changing height is factored out. But the moon’s very effect is to daily stretch and compact the air.
So whatever happened to school science lessons about enclosed gases and a thing called Boyles Law? The atmosphere is an enclosed gas, held by gravity to a fixed location just as if it was in a closed container. Boyles Law sets out the dependencies of volume, temperature and pressure upon each other in an enclosed gas situation. But this is the reason a barometer can stay constant while the weather may change, or the needle may rise just before a storm, when it is supposed to be the other way around. One should be watching the thermometer as well, because that will go down when during inclement weather while the barometer stays constant.

Weather dynamics have less to do with pressure and more to do with volume, the least measurable yet the most potent. Over any location the atmosphere, just like the water coming in and out of a harbour, is subject to a daily incoming and outgoing tide. Why shouldn’t it be? We know that the air around the earth is a massive body of gas weighing five thousand million million tons and is equivalent in weight to 33 feet of water sitting over the head of anyone on the surface of the earth. This is virtually a sea of equivalent mass to an ocean 33 feet deep, running around above our heads. There is no reason that such a sea would not be tidal. And anything tidal is under the control of the moon.

There are several tides that we do already know of. Just as oceans of water are pulled around by the moon, so is the land. Through NASA satellite data, astronomers are aware that the surface of the earth rises about 8 inches per day to meet the moon as it passes over our heads, then recedes again when the moon dips below the horizon. It is impossible to see because there is nothing to compare it against (ref: There is also a tide in the molten core inside the earth, a contributing factor to earthquakes. Some small solar pull is in the picture too, but the moon’s gravity is two and a half times that of the sun. Virtually all tides are thus caused by the moon, yet popular belief is that it has little influence on anything except beaches and poets. If the moon pulls around the land and the water, then air is going to be far easier to shift. In fact the moon causes daily changes to the height and therefore density of the atmosphere, and alters wind direction and force every moonrise and moonset.


By plotting the sun’s brightness right through the month through a modified exposure meter and matching results to the moon’s position, veteran forecaster Harry Alcock(1989) in the Waikato was able to show that air density changes with lunar phase. Not surprisingly his findings were ignored by climatologists. Yet the fact that atmospheric tides exist has actually been documented since 1939, when two British broadcast engineers Weekes and Appleby discovered that short wave radio signals varied with the moon’s phases. We can go even further - airtides were suspected as early as 1807.

Unbeknownst to pilot Bill Waters, the last quarter moon was setting that day over Tauranga at 3pm. The air-tide would have been rushing out at the very moment he was experiencing flying difficulties because the moon was at that moment exactly on the horizon in the northwest. Also the moon was at its northern declination, (its northernmost point for the month), causing an extra low airtide in the opposite (southern)hemisphere. And unbeknownst to Gary Southeran the moon was almost at dead-low tide, that is directly on the opposite side of the earth to his flight path. Also it was three days from perigee(moon closest to earth for the month) which increased the tide-out effect. Plus, this particular perigee was the most extreme for the year. So both pilots were flying over hills on an outgoing and unusually deep king air-tide. This is not to say all planes will crash at that time. All cars don’t drive in the same pothole, especially if that pothole is constantly on the move.


There is other evidence for a daily and monthly variance in the density of the atmosphere. Sir Edmund Hillary has a few stories about being able to breathe at 16,000 ft in some areas but not in others, something he and fellow climbers always suspected was due to the weather. Sir Edmund directed me to a researcher in Katmandu and I subsequently found that the Tibetans and inhabitants of northeast China only do oxygen-less ascents in the high mountains after New Moon. The moon drags a thicker atmosphere beneath it whenever it comes above the horizon. As the moon sets, the atmosphere compacts again and the cold of space or heat from the sun can come closer to earth, condensing clouds at that time resulting in extra cold or wind in winter and extra heat in summer. A full moon is visible because it actually causes clear nights. Because the moon expands the air it increases in volume, raises the pressure and so forces aside lower-flying lower-pressured rain-bearing clouds. There is simply more air available when the moon is in the sky and less when it isn’t. When the moon is close(perigee), this effect is heightened.


Simply stated, weather is that which happens when atmospheric tides are gravitationally pulled around by the Moon. The airtide ebbs and flows over hills in the same manner as water over rocks. Exactly the same laws and dynamics of fluid motion apply. When the Moon above the horizon stretches the atmosphere and attracts more atmosphere beneath it, this amount can be 20-25% between phases. If the useful atmosphere is 5 miles thick, then this stretch would be 1.25 miles, or for an accepted total depth of atmosphere of 60 miles, the atmospheric-tidal difference between high and low is in the region of 15 miles.


When the Moon is below the horizon it is more likely to rain, providing rain is about. Very often rain will fall an hour or so on either side of moonset or at the IC position(directly below our feet in the opposite hemisphere). At the time of the New Moon, when the Moon is overhead, rain, if about is more likely at night. Conversely at Full Moon the nights will nearly always be clear but the daytime will see cloud. During 1st Quarter moon any rain present will be before lunch and during last quarter late in the afternoon. New moons are destructive in summer but full moons in winter. Perigee brings increased wind and stormy weather especially when the moon is also close to being New or Full. The most settled time of the month is New moon to 1st quarter and the most chance of rain happens between full moon and last quarter.


The world is warming until 2005/6 after which it will cool again, due to a larger 18.613 year lunar cycle called the Nodal or Nutative. This has nothing whatever to do with global warming and human activities, the so-called greenhouse effect being merely a cash cow for a growth industry based on fear. After all, if they can’t predict weather/climate more than a week ahead, how can they be so sure of climate in 50 or 60 years time?


Perhaps one day mainstream meteorological science may find the moon worthy of investigation. The moon is infinitely measurable. Scientists can predict eclipses down to the second that they will be visible from any location on earth, so we do have the technology to be able to predict weather of any kind anywhere, too, if only the moon became recognised for causing the weather. Think of the saving in agriculture if they could predict frosts, gales cyclones and floods, not to mention lives that could be saved by people not putting out to sea.

Ken Ring 


Predict Weather 2009 ©