Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric Tides in the Southern Hemisphere

Ian R. G. Wilson1, Nikolay S. Sidorenkov*, 2
1 The Liverpool Plains Daytime Astronomy Centre, Curlewis, NSW, Australia
2 Hydrometcenter of Russia, Bolshoy Predtechensky 11-13, 123242 Moscow, Russian Federation, Russia

© 2013 Wilson and Sidorenkov.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Hydrometcenter of Russia, Bolshoy Predtechensky 11-13, 123242 Moscow, Russian Federation, Russia; Tel: +7(499) 252-34-48; Fax: +7(499) 255-15-82; E-mail:


The longitudinal shift-and-add method is used to show that there are N=4 standing wave-like patterns in the summer (DJF) mean sea level pressure (MSLP) and sea-surface temperature (SST) anomaly maps of the Southern Hemisphere between 1947 and 1994. The patterns in the MSLP anomaly maps circumnavigate the Earth in 36, 18, and 9 years. This indicates that they are associated with the long-term lunar atmospheric tides that are either being driven by the 18.0 year Saros cycle or the 18.6 year lunar Draconic cycle. In contrast, the N=4 standing wave-like patterns in the SST anomaly maps circumnavigate the Earth once every 36, 18 and 9 years between 1947 and 1970 but then start circumnavigating the Earth once every 20.6 or 10.3 years between 1971 and 1994. The latter circumnavigation times indicate that they are being driven by the lunar Perigee-Syzygy tidal cycle. It is proposed that the different drift rates for the patterns seen in the MSLP and SST anomaly maps between 1971 and 1994 are the result of a reinforcement of the lunar Draconic cycle by the lunar Perigee-Syzygy cycle at the time of Perihelion. It is claimed that this reinforcement is part of a 31/62/93/186 year lunar tidal cycle that produces variations on time scales of 9.3 and 93 years. Finally, an N=4 standing wave-like pattern in the MSLP that circumnavigates the Southern Hemisphere every 18.6 years will naturally produce large extended regions of abnormal atmospheric pressure passing over the semi-permanent South Pacific subtropical high roughly once every ~ 4.5 years. These moving regions of higher/lower than normal atmospheric pressure will increase/decrease the MSLP of this semi-permanent high pressure system, temporarily increasing/reducing the strength of the East-Pacific trade winds. This may led to conditions that preferentially favor the onset of La Nina/El Nino events.

Keywords: Lunar atmospheric tides, atmospheric pressure, sea-surface temperatures, ENSO, El Nino, La Nina.