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The Effects of the Moon on Earth's Weather


That the Moon affects weather is nothing new but might appear so to someone hearing it for the first time. So why has science previously not gone there?

Cycles are not revenue earners. Perceiving weather and climate as anomalous, chaotic and unpredictable earns more funding to sort out "extremes" and "climate change". This justifies taxes, agricultural penalties and the ongoing support of green lobby groups for western governments. The desire for politicians to get re-elected is more pressing than the search for science truth, even though the development of longrange methods would save millions in economic forward planning.

There can be absolutely no doubt of the Moon's cyclic influence on the air, land and sea, and of the tides that cause cyclones, kingtides and earthquakes. Otherwise all is coincidence, for instance that the 4 September and 22 February Christchurch earthquakes and 11 March 2011 Japanese tsunami occurred close to massive perigees and that northern hemisphere hurricanes and typhoons occur around full moons and perigees. In science coincidences and flukes have no place.

Stonehenge was a lunar calculator, and as far as we know as were all ancient stone monuments, and were equivalent to laptops of today. They are waiting to be rediscovered by similarly enlightened scientists. Stone circles calculated planetary movements and forewarned of eclipses. The teams of priest-astronomers who oprerated the ancient stone circle sites would have been master mathematicians and equivalent to today's professors. All stone circles are aligned to the Moon.

You would think it was a no-brainer that an object between a third and a quarter the size of Earth and from only 10 earth circumferences away would have an effect on earth and everything on the earth, which included the air. Is it not a little weird that we think the Moon has an effect only on fishing and on the tide at the beach, but little else? What is it about fish and waves that would so exclusively fascinate the Moon? The idea is far fetched that the Moon reserves itself. Whatever affects the ocean affects the whole planet.

The word tide comes from tid meaning to divide. It is the same root as time and tidings. Time is the division of the day and tidings were the latest news of the day, a function of time. Cycles happen in time. Cycle comes from kwel, meaning to revolve. (hence wheel). The first cycles to be noticed would have been that of the Sun and Moon.

The Sun is responsible for intensity of heat and amounts of moisture that fall, because it is the Sun's heat that by evaporation draws water from the ocean to later return as rain. By determining how much heat there is likely to be, around which times of the month and year, we can get a fair idea of the potential for evaporation that may arrive.


There are several cycles to consider. Short term, the Sun comes closer to Earth in the first week of every January, a phenomenon called perihelion (peri (Latin)= press forward, and helios (Greek)=sun). When an extraterrestrial body orbits another, it is usually off-centre (elliptical) which means there is a near point and a far one. The Sun’s far point (aphelion) is in the first week of July, which nearly always brings colder temperatures to the south of both Australia and NZ.


In the southern hemisphere summer the Sun is closer to earth than it is during the northern hemisphere’s summer. Extra heat can always be expected in or around the first week in January. On 4 January 2014 the hottest place in Australia was 42.3C at ParaburdooWA. In 2013 Paraburdo's hottest January day was 46.4C on the 8th  The closer a heater is to you, the hotter you will be.


Longterm, the Sun has an 11 and 22 year "sunspot" cycle   which correlates to heat, but this can vary a lot, for instance the 11-yr figure varies between 9-14 years. The cycle, though, is not symmetrical, for the spot count takes on average about 4.8 years to rise from a minimum to a maximum and another 6.2 years to fall to a minimum once again.


The present cycle, called Cycle 24, is not particularly strong in radiative energy, but has been peaking over the second half of 2014. The peaks give more sun strength and potential for more rain.  Life loves heat which is why there are so many more forms of life in Australia than in Scotland, and why a doctor will recommend a holiday in the Caribbean or the Gold Coast rather than the Ross Ice Shelf.. Tropical fish in an aquarium can be seen hanging around the heat outlet. Extra warming does not endanger species.


The start of 2014 with its perihelion brought heatwaves to parts of the Australian Interior, namely W QLD, W NSW, SA, NT and parts of WA. As warned in our Australian almanac for 2014 this year's monsoon season should arrive earlier than 2013's late-starter but should fade several times, such that the south of NT may remain dry. How dry? Between now (January 2014) and the end of June, Alice Springs is expected to receive less than 10 rain days, as compared to 70-80 for Darwin.


Without cooler monsoonal dips the Interior suffers a relentless buildup of heat, as witnessed last year. When colder fronts began coming through the Bight around the end of February, and because heat rushes to cold, the heat in the Interior migrated to the bottom half of Australia, then stalled because of weaker sea currents in the Bight that gave rise to weaker wind systems. The North Island of NZ, on the same latitude as VIC, copped the tail end of VIC's heat  Of course scientists blamed global warming, because they default to that as soon as the thermometer rises. But why was the monsoon season late? The answer lies in the Moon.


First, let’s take another look at Sun cycles.

Year 2000 was the peak of Cycle 23. The jury is still out on whether there will be another peak for Cycle 24, but so far 2013 has displayed at least one maximum. As to sunspots per month, in 2000 the first part of that year yielded daily sunspot counts of over 100. T here were heat waves in the early part of 2000. Sydney temperatures reached 36C on 19 January and in Queensland the temperature reached 40C on the 20th.

On 5 February 2000, Sydney hit 38C, the warmest day of that month. It was also New Moon day.


The Moon by virtue of the lunar atmospheric tide that sits above the sea sets the timing of weather events, as it does the timing of sea-tides . The Moon's effect on the air is to raise and lower air height, depending on where the Moon is with respect to location. This lets in more or less of the Sun’s heat, and at night, more of less colder evening air. For example, a Full moon day in summer is usually very hot because the Moon is out of the sky until evening, and the air height being lower allows more of the Sun’s heat to come closer to the ground. It is why tropical cyclones begin to form around full moon times.


New moon days can be hotter too, for a different reason. On a summer New Moon day the moon is directly above our hemisphere. The Moon above the horizon tends to clear the sky, and over New moon it is in the sky during daylight hours. A clear sky tends to be hotter on the ground, with no overhead clouds to reflect heat back into space.


How accurate is longrange? If you go to a good doctor he/she will prescribe something for your condition, saying "it may clear up today, maybe in a few days - if it hasn't cleared up in a week come back and see me." It is the same with weather. Both medicine and weather are inexact sciences. It would be unfathomably unreasonable to demand that weather be more exact than medicine.


There are general cycles that enable us to plot trends. It is enough to plan ahead by. Predictions always remain to be seen. But fire risks are likely to be low this summer because of expected rain in NSW, QLD and TAS. QLD is looking at floods in March and the second half of May. VIC should have an overall cooler than normal summer and a wetter than average winter.





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