Like many people, I often feel grumpy when it is windy - without really understanding why. Of course, really strong gales can be dangerous, but my morale always seems to suffer a noticeable dent whenever there's the merest hint of a storm.
In fact, human moods, and probably those of many other animals, seem to be profoundly, and often rather mysteriously, affected by what's happening outside. We often talk of feeling 'under the weather' when the air is hot, still and humid. Grey skies often bring grey moods, driving rain is usually depressing and sunshine almost always lifts the spirits. The reasons why aren't always obvious. The psychological and physiological impacts of freezing temperatures, driving rain and long, dark days seem clear enough.
But less so are the subtle effects on our bodies and minds of more intangible meteorological phenomena, such as changes in air pressure and minute alterations in light levels and temperature. These effects lie on the borderline of science because they are very hard to quantify. Indeed, many doctors dismiss as mere anecdote and folklore the claims of those who, say, insist their headaches are as accurate a way of measuring the air pressure as any barometer.
So the news this week that scientists have found a definite link between temperature, pressure and the pain suffered by migraine sufferers will have many people saying 'I told you so'. Publishing in the journal Neurology, Professor Kenneth Mukamal and colleagues report a statistically significant link between high air temperatures, low pressures and the onset of severe migraine headaches.