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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 03/ 9/2009

Moon's Effect on Atlantic Hurricanes

By Ann Posegate

* Trending Cooler: Full Forecast | Dueling Springs | Weather Wall *

Hurricane Isabel, 2003. Courtesy NOAA.

Here's an interesting analogy: the moon is to hurricanes as snow is to D.C. traffic accidents.

Intrigued? After analyzing Atlantic hurricanes that occurred between 1950 and 2007, University of New Orleans professor Peter Yaukey recently concluded that hurricanes form and intensify more often following a new moon than during other phases of the lunar cycle.

What is the reason behind this identified trend? Is the same true before 1950 and for cyclones in other parts of the world? These and other questions remain unanswered and subjects for future investigation.

Check out this article for more details about the study.

By Ann Posegate  | March 9, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Posegate, Tropical Weather  
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Aren't tides at their highest at new and full moon? Maybe that has an effect.

Posted by: wiredog | March 9, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Wire, yes tides are highest when the moon, sun, and earth are all aligned, i.e. full and new moon phases. The new moon phase creates the largest tides due to the sun and moon aligning their respective forces in the same direction.

I'm interested to see if this signal is present in the other hurricane prone areas as well. If it shows up in the Western Pacific I'd say there's some merit. Then again, I could probably find some correllation between volcanic activity in Indonesia and cheese curd consumption in Wisconsin if I looked hard enough.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 9, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You left out the important part. Global Warming, which leads to increased and more intense hurricane activity, will also lead to more new moons!!!

Posted by: prokaryote | March 9, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Brian, I'd be willing to bet money that the correlation between volcanic activity in Indonesia and cheese curd consumption in Wisconsin is 1.0, taking only one instance.

Posted by: wiredog | March 9, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds a bit to me like the idea of planting by the moon, an idea which has a devoted following.

Back in the mid-1980's I facetiously suggested that people should plant by Halley's comet. Actually this works just fine for a white pine plantation. Those folks who set out their pine seedlings by the comet in 1986 will enjoy a nice harvest of pine lumber in 2061 when the comet returns! They can then set out a new pine plantation for harvest 76 years later in 2137.

For such trees as white oaks with a 500-year lifespan to maturity, you can also "plant by comet". Just select a comet such as the Great Comet of 1857 with its 525-year orbital period. And for comets such as Hale-Bopp [ca. 2500 years], you can plant your giant sequoias!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 9, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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