New research conducted by the Met Office has found that a lot of UK adults say they use sayings such as “red sky at night, shepherd’s delight,” to predict the weather. The survey of over 2,000 people also found that 58% of adults think that these sayings are pretty accurate. But, is there any truth in them?
Here are the most popular weather sayings, according to the Met Office study, and the science behind them:
Pine cones open up when good weather is coming
This is one of the few sayings that is based on scientific fact. In dry weather, pine cones dry out, which causes their scales to stand out with a more “open” appearance. In wet weather, the scales curl up and the cones return to a more closed shape.
Cows lie down when it is about to rain
While a number of theories have tried to find some truth in this, the Met Office says there is no scientific evidence for it at all. Cows lie down for a number of reasons, but there is no proof to link this behaviour with the likelihood of rainfall.
Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight
This well-known one is usually used at sunrise and sunset to help the shepherds prepare for the day ahead. The research found that 83% of us believe it to be true and according to the Met Office, there’s good reason. This is because high pressure tends to bring good weather. High pressure traps dust and dirt in the air, which scatters blue light, only leaving the red light remaining – which gives the sky its reddish appearance.
It’s too cold to snow
62% of us believe this saying, but it doesn’t actually apply in the UK. The colder the air gets, the less water vapour there is in the air, reducing the likelihood of snow. However, there are a number of other factors which contribute to whether it will snow or not, and it is unlikely that we would experience temperatures cold enough to make it less likely to happen.