Hi I'm Dave Thurlow and this is the Weather Notebook. Here's a question from Eric Evans of Camden Maine, a listener of Maine Public Radio. Eric sent his question from weathernotebook.org and it reads:
'It seems that a lot of people believe that frost is more likely when the moon is full. I've always thought frost is more likely when it's not cloudy and because of that you can SEE the full moon. But I can also imagine that the moon creates a significant "tide" in the atmosphere. Here in Maine, I have not noticed any correlation of cloudiness with phase of the moon. What do weather records tell us about this folk-wisdom?'
Well the weather records go along with your observation. There is no correlation between the phase of the moon and the weather. The coldest nights are, by nature, clear. Clear skies let heat escape to space and they also let you see the moon regardless of its phase. If the moon is full it is just a coincidence, but many of us tend to connect these two noticable conditions - cold air and a full moon - when they exist together.
The apparent cause and effect here is not real. The moon has no control whatsoever over the atmosphere. As for the tides, remember gravity is an interaction between two masses. The heavier the mass the bigger the tug between the two. Water is dense or heavy enough to be affected by the moon's gravitation. But, air is just to thin to feel any effect.
However, farmers with infinately more wison than I claim that lunar cycles affect planting cycles. And I'll argue with a scientist but not with a farmer.
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