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A new study has determined that hurricanes strengthen more often under a new lunar cycle than at any other time.
The moon's strange influence on Earth and its denizens is legendary. From fertility to suicide, most phenomena attributed to the Moon are almost exclusively superstition.
But, according to a report in Discovery News, Peter Yaukey of the University of New Orleans has found what he thinks is real evidence that the phases of moon drive hurricane behavior.
Storms that occurred in the Atlantic Ocean between 1950 and 2007 were more likely to form right after the new moon.
They also intensified 49 percent more often after a new moon than at any other time in the 29.5-day lunar cycle.
There are a range of possibilities.
Just as the moon pulls on Earth's oceans and creates the tides, it also tugs on the air above it. Lunar atmospheric tides are thought to be weak, but could create favorable conditions for storms to strengthen.
The moon's gravity may also pull cosmic dust into Earth's atmosphere in a cyclical fashion, perhaps seeding cloud formation and precipitation.