Solar Eclipses Can (Slightly) Change Weather on Earth


The inky shadows of solar eclipses can alter local weather on small scales, according to new analysis of a 1999 total eclipse.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon slips between Earth and the sun, causing a huge shadow to glide across our planet’s surface. (See pictures from a January 2011 solar eclipse.)

knew an eclipse could lower temperatures within this shadow by as much
as 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius). But they couldn’t confirm
anecdotal reports of changes in wind speed and direction linked to the
astronomical events.

“This story goes back to 1901, when a guy
named H. Helm Clayton thought he saw a change in the wind directions on
account of the eclipse,” said atmospheric physicist Giles Harrison of the University of Reading in the U.K.

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