Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Robert M. DeConto
Almanacs, Astrology, Astrometeorology, Historical meteorology, Johannes Kepler, John Goad
Earth Sciences | Geology
A unique methodology for forecasting weather based on geocentric planetary alignments originated in ancient Mesopotamia. The method, called astrometeorology, was further developed by Greek, Arab, and Renaissance scientists including Ptolemy, Al-Kindi, Tycho Brahe and Joannes Kepler. A major 17th century effort to test the method in a Baconian fashion was made by John Goad. Building on the ideas of Kepler and Goad, I test an isolated component of the method, specifically a correlation between geocentric Sun-Saturn alignments and cold temperatures, using modern daily temperature data from New England, Central England, Prague and other locations. My hypothesis states there is a correlation, shown in daily temperature records, between cooling trends in specific regions and the geocentric alignments of the Sun and the planet Saturn. The hypothesis is supported by a number of tests that show lower temperatures on days when Sun-Saturn alignments occur, especially when near the equinoxes. The astronomy of this positioning suggests that tidal forces on the atmosphere may be part of a mechanism that would explain this effect. The abandonment of planetary weather forecasting by the intellectual elite in 16th and 17th century Europe is next organized as a history and discussion. In the final section, applications of the methodology to climate cycles is explored, particularly in regard to a 1536-year recurring cycle of outer planets and a cycle of similar length found in climate records. In addition, an account of biological processes that are structured around astronomical cycles is presented.
Scofield, Bruce, "A History and Test of Planetary Weather Forecasting" (2010). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 221.