Global environmental challenges
Rainier at the weekend than during the week?
Many people know the feeling — after being stuck inside an office block at work during the week, you look forward to going outside or visiting the beach at the weekend….only to find it starts pouring.
Of course you normally write off that niggling feeling that the weather was better on Wednesday as unreasonable gloom – but researchers at the University of Barcelona studying Spain’s weather say it may be true.
Looking at weather patterns from 1961 to 2004, their study discovered that cloud cover, rains, sunshine, air pressure all vary according to the day of the week; that may be because of some link between emissions of pollution from factories and more burning of fossil fuels from Monday to Friday.
The pollutants may affect cloud formation, or help seed rain droplets.
The good news is that the cycle apparently means better weather at weekends in wintertime – December, January and February — than on weekdays. But the bad is that the scientists write that “our analyses detected also that other seasons (spring and summer) show opposite weekly cycles” of a tendency to worse weekend weather.
In winter, the scientists say that the mixing of pollutants in the atmosphere happens at lower layers, perhaps helping to explain a difference.
It is also unclear whether the effects of worse weekend summer weather hold true in other nations. The scientists admit that some other studies have not found such results and that the summer effect is less pronounced than in winter.
If the effect is widespread, a campaign for better weekends sounds a compelling argument to shift towards less polluting energy like wind or solar power in developed nations. Alongside a drive to fight global warming or to break dependence on foreign oil imports, a new slogan could be: “bring back ’Sun day!”
What do you think? Is it really wetter at the weekend?