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Still Waters

Solar Eclipses Can (Slightly) Change Weather

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Moon's shadow causes winds to slow, alter direction, study says.

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.)

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.

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I've read somewhere that the decay of radiative forcing during a solar eclispe happens 4 to 5 times fasted than during a sunset.

In 1999, Europe scientists have monitered changes in a specific area, around France and Belgium. Temperature dropped by about 3°C in 20 roughly minutes and winds lost about 1.5 m/s of velocity during the solar eclipse.

Still not nearly as bad as a huge volcanic eruption but quite interesting indeed.

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