Just how much does the weather affect our behaviour and outlook?

Earlier this week, I completely lost my mojo.

There was no obvious explanation for it.  Had I just scoffed six roast chickens? Run a marathon? Been up all night?

No to all of the above.

The only reason I could think of was the weather. This wet season has been a particular disappointment – usually after a couple of dismal wet seasons (rainfall well below average), we can look forward to more than usual rain – in fact a flood. Which replenishes vital groundwater and dams and gives some respite from the heat. Otherwise, the ground just gets hotter, water gets hotter, buildings get hotter – and people get hotter & more debilitated.  During these periods our overnight minimum temperatures sit well above 25 degrees celsius.  Waiting, waiting, waiting for the weather to break. This week, the unrelenting weather was really getting on my goat.  On Monday I gave up trying to get work done & lay on the lounge & spent an hour and a half in the middle of the day watching telly. Then returned to the airconditioned office. In all the years I’ve had in self employment, I never recall sitting down to watch TV during the day, or being tempted to.  But this week, I may as well have had all of Monday and Tuesday off, as working was ridiculously inefficient.

On Tuesday morning I heard a spangled drongo calling in the backyard. These beautiful black shiny birds with swallow tails, call only when rain is a certainty (channel-billed cuckoos are equally reliable forecasters). But the official weather predictions hadn’t changed, so I ignored the good omen.  I was over being optimistic.

Then it rained on Wednesday night, and most of yesterday.

Work action back, with the usual zeal!

The influence of the weather on human behaviour fascinates me.  My mother-in-law absolutely hated windy days, because she’d learned over several decades of teaching primary school children, that they’d be super scratchy when the wind picked up.  From when he was very young, one of my sons would start to get noticeably mopey after 3 days of monsoonal weather (perpetually grey skies), and ask when sunshine was going to return.  Now he actually spells out that he finds it depressing. Looking back on my childhood in a southern climate, I know the endless grey-blanket winter days had the exact same effect on me (it just took me many years to figure out the connection). I joke that I run on solar power.  When I fly into a completely different time zone, I still wake up just when the sun is about to rise – on the first morning.  I couldn’t live long-term in a place where grey blanket skies were regular, no matter how fantastic a place it was.  I’m the ultimate sceptic regarding ‘syndromes’ but ‘SAD’ (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is real.  Depression might be too strong a word, but incessant grey skies definitely remove the spring in my step.

It’s interesting to contemplate what researchers may discover about the impact of weather conditions on the behaviour and outlook of humans; and why it is that some birds and animals are able to predict weather events so accurately (and no, falling air pressure is not an adequate explanation).

Now the sun is out again, the fig birds are back feasting in the palm trees, and we can hear the tropical plants growing.

Townsville Botanic Gardens - lotus lillies in bloom

Townsville Botanic Gardens – lotus lillies in bloom (mobile phone photo)

But we need more rain before the end of the month; as March is the last ‘wet season’ month in Northern Australia; and there’s a slab of eastern Queensland that remains in drought. Above the Tropic of Capricorn (approximately), native vegetation is tropical – so adapted to grow during the hot wet season months of October to March.  Even if we have unseasonally heavy rain between April and September, not many plants grow.