Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Weather tonic

Feeling positive, generous, lucky? It may be something in the air.

Weather tonic

One of the great mysteries of life is why we are denied a sense of well-being when we believe we fully deserve it, and why we get it when we don't deserve it.

All we can say is that life is unfair, and sometimes it works to our advantage, even though we tend to forget those times.

Which brings us to a day in which the atmosphere has delivered an energizing air mass almost too good to be true for a June 26.

That the weather affects mood and productivity is beyond dispute -- remember how you felt last week? -- but some of us choose to spend our lives in a form of biological denial.

The fact is that all air-conditioning and modified indoor environments notwithstanding, we cannot escape the influences of the atmosphere entirely.

Countless trees have died in the service of papers attempting to document precise effects, but such research is maddeningly difficult since it is so difficult to isolate the atmophere's behavior from other variables.

We would note two studies that we've written about tha speak to the weather's powers.

In the 1990s, a Temple University psychologist authored a study of Atlantic City casino patrons that found that people were more likely to tip generously on sunny days.

An on-site researcher worked as a room-server three mornings a week, serving more than 450 guests.

Regardless of the actual conditions, when the researcher nformed the guests that it was raining, his tips averaged 18.6 percent. When he told them it was sunny, that figure went up to 23.7.

Weather also appears to affect the stock market. Another study by Ohio State Univeristy and the University of Michigan researchers (and we know of no other instance in which those two institutions actually cooperated) found that sun was great for the market.

On clear days, they found an annualized growth rate of 24.8 percent, compared with 8.7 on cloudy days.

We haven't conducted any scientific study, but we don't research to know that June days such as this are rare, and we'll take as many as we can get.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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