Solar Eclipses Change Weather on Earth (Slightly)
Moon's shadow causes winds to slow, alter direction, study says.
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.)
Meteorologists 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.
Ever since Clayton's claim, anecdotal reports of eclipse-powered winds have piled up,