Study: Weather linked with sentiments expressed on social media

Study suggests Facebook, Twitter sentiments correlate with weather patterns – no mention of climate linked sentiments

Sentiments expressed on Facebook and Twitter may be associated with certain weather patterns, according to a study published April 25, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONEby Patrick Baylis from the Vancouver School of Economics, Canada, Nick Obradovich from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and colleagues.

Previous research has identified a potential link between weather and people’s emotional states, but which specific weather conditions trigger positive or negative emotions and how to measure these sentiments in an accurate and consistent way require further investigation.

To examine the association between weather conditions and expressed sentiments, the authors of the present study gathered 2.4 billion posts from Facebook and 1.1 billion from Twitter between the years 2009 and 2016. They analyzed the sentiment for each post using a special tool that categorizes posts based on keywords as positive or negative.

The researchers found that temperature, precipitation, humidity, and cloud cover each were strongly associated with an expression of sentiment, whether positive or negative. Positive expressions increase up to 20 degrees Celsius and decline as the temperature goes over 30 degrees Celsius. They also found that precipitation was associated with more negative expressed sentiment. Days with a humidity level of 80% or higher were associated with negative expressions, as were days with a high amount of cloud cover.

While the sentiment analysis tool used is imperfect, this study can help provide insight into how weather conditions might impact sentiments expressed via social media, which can act as a proxy for underlying human emotional states. Understanding the potential impact of weather on our emotions is important considering our constant exposure to weather conditions.

“We find that how we express ourselves is shaped by the weather outside,” says Nick Obradovich. “Adverse weather conditions — hot and cold temperatures, precipitation, added humidity, and increased cloud cover — reduce the sentiment of human expressions across billions of social media posts drawn from millions of US residents.”


The study: Baylis P, Obradovich N, Kryvasheyeu Y, Chen H, Coviello L, Moro E, et al. (2018) Weather impacts expressed sentiment. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195750.

80 thoughts on “Study: Weather linked with sentiments expressed on social media

    • Total waste of time and money. It has been known for years that weather is directly caused by comments on social media – see my study, send £££’s.

      • What they should have been studying is how negative messages about Climate change, like “Warmest Ever” or “Arctic Ice at Lowest Level Ever” or “We Have Only 2 Years to Change” or “Antarctica is Melting” or “Island Nations to Disappear From Sea Level Rise” and how the hopelessness caused by them directly affect social media posts.
        Bummer World Mann

    • Ah, but if the weather remains very hot and humid for an extended period, it can be a tipping point for people to start punching other people which leads to extremely violence, uncontrollable riots and lots of blood, guts and giblets. Everywhere. Hey, but as it’s really cold for April right now, we’re all chilled out (hence the expression). Can I have my grant money now. Oh, please.

  1. A groundbreaking study. They clearly show the relationship between social media activity and the local weather.
    Finally, we have a strong causative proof of weather patterns.
    The old Yankee quipped “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
    Now we see that talking about the weather, at least on social media, is what causes the weather to change.
    This opens up an intriguing possibility.
    Could it be that the most dramatic weather phenomena of our times, CAGW, is actually caused by the researchers who study it?

    • Unfortunately your theory has a hole in it. I travel often to Las Vegas for business. I hear all the people at the gate and in the terminal excitedly talking about how much money they are going to win. Days later at the Las Vegas gate I see the same people ready to leave: sad, frightened about paying the bills and many wishing they never came! The “Inconvenient Truth” about CAGW applies to gambling, finances and relationships: there’s a big difference between illusion and reality!
      It has been so cold around here I can’t get my early garden seeds to germinate. No matter how much I yell at the soil it just won’t warm up!

      • The universe does, after all, have a sense of humor. Unfortunately, not a very pleasant one.
        Witness CAGW, the researchers are terrified at the prospect, and that only makes it worse.
        The same applies to Las Vegas. Expectations of great winnings and glory make huge losses inevitable.

        No matter how much I yell at the soil it just won’t warm up!

        You are doing it wrong.
        Try kerosene with a big pile lawn/garden debris. Make a nice big fire and that will warm the soil up.
        Better Living Through Chemistry!

      • It’s ok to yell at the dirt…. as long as your neighbors aren’t watching. (it’s best to just curse it under your breath)

  2. Cape Town residents already know that mood causes weather. We were severely depressed as a result of the drought and water crisis. Lo and Behold! The depression became so deep that it started raining! (We’ll have to stay depressed for a while longer until the drought is broken)

    • It just rained hard in Cape Town, and to put a negative spin on it, the radio somberly reported that the dam levels only increased 1%. You might have thought that reversing the downward death spiral of the stored water and driving it up 1% would have brought joy to the beleaguered, barely washed masses.
      The guy who re-floated that big tour ship has a plan to tow insulation-wrapped icebergs to Cape Town. He says he can supply 130 m litres a day for a year from one of them. They will tow them to the currents that will bring them floating north. It is not even that expensive to do.

    • @ vuurklip …I made a prediction back in February regarding the Capetown drought issues, doesn’t look good in my opinion. I hope that you get the rains which are needed for your area. I would rather be dead wrong on this one, then proven right while people suffer.

    • @ vuurklip …———————————————————————————
      Here is a quick look at the Capetown drought record and my take on ‘Why’.

      Drought yr …Sunspot Cycle …Solar Max …Solar Minimum
      1851/54-4yr. #9 ………………….1850 ………..1856
      1864/66-3yr. #10 ………………..1862/63 ……1867
      1894/97-4yr .#13 ………………..1892/93 ……1900/01
      1926/31-5yr .#16 ………………..1926/27 ……1932/33
      1963/67-5yr .#19 ………………..1958/59 ……1965/66
      1971/73-3yr .#20 ………………..1968/69 ……1975/76
      2015/?? …….#24 ………………..2013/14 …….???? 2019/20?

      My forecast, one more year of drought for certain, highly probable for 2
      more years as this look like the mid 1960s as an analog, imo. This is
      one of my forecasts, or my way of seeing if I am am seeing a good

  3. My mood is significantly affected by weather, more specifically by light levels. Dazzling bright sunlight dramatically lifts my mood, makes me feel more positive, energised. Bright artificial lights help a bit when the weather is dreary, but they are not as good as the real thing. Just as well I live somewhere very sunny and tropical – makes me the happy person I am today ;-).

  4. Back in the day I worked with someone who had been at a very senior level in the British natural gas distribution industry. He said that day-to-day sales volume variations were correlated (much) more closely with the colour of the sky than with temperature.

    • That makes perfect sense:
      My experience from living in Montana was that on sunny days of, say 25 F, low angle sunshine streaming through my windows warmed the interior of the house, allowing me to burn less firewood. On the other hand, cloudy days of say, 35 F, with no sunshine warming the interior and with higher humidity giving the cold more bite, my wife always wanted the wood stove well fed.

  5. Weather linked with social media?
    Good God! Is this paper filed under Climateology or Social Science?

    • dodgy geezer : I ADMIRE YOUR SELF RESTRAINT !
      “What a load of drivel ” is about the only bit that is printable !
      “THEY” must be running out of subjects for their PhD’s in “what-ever-shit-field-of-studies” that these
      dead-heads inhabit !!
      Talk about DUMBING DOWN……………….there HAS to be a better word !!!!

  6. In the case of “WattsUpWithThat” which I see as social media, It is not weather but the climate that has brought us together. Why are we always confusing the two? Weather is whether or not it is going to rain. Climate is what is going to kill us next year.

  7. Research suggests that when your home is destoyed by a hurricane, tornado or flood, it puts you in a bad mood

    • Mike Maguire:
      Speculation on your mood when you’re a still in the house and die as result can only be found in philosophy and religion, Most indicate that you have transcended weather.

  8. Hot town, summer in the city
    Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
    Been down, isn’t it a pity
    Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city…
    J. Sebastian 1966

    • We’re having a heat wave
      a tropical heatwave
      the temperature’s rising
      it isn’t surprising
      she certainly can
      can can
      * * *
      In the summer time when the weather is hot
      You can stretch right up and touch the sky
      When the weather is fine
      you got women,
      you got women on your mind
      * * *
      and the livin’ is easy
      fish are jumpin’
      and the cotton is high
      * * *
      Summer lovin’ had me a blast
      summer lovin’ happened so fast
      I met a girl crazy for me
      I met a boy cute as can be
      Summer days driftin’ away
      to uh–oh!–the summer nights…
      * * *
      it was a hot summer night and the beach was burnin’
      there was fog crawlin’ over the sand
      * * *
      Runnin’ through this business of life
      Raisin’ sand if I’m needed to
      Ain’t so funny when things ain’t feelin’ right
      Then daddy’s hand helps to see me through
      Sweet as sugar, love won’t wash away
      Rain or shine, it’s always here to stay
      All these years you and I spent together
      All these winters
      couldn’t stand the weather

      • Sunny Day
        Sweepin’ the clouds away
        On my way to where the air is sweet
        Can you tell me how to get,
        How to get to Sesame street?
        The ‘scientific study’ is about on that level.

      • Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
        Sometimes I’d like to quit
        Nothin’ ever seems to fit
        Hangin’ around
        Nothin’ to do but frown
        Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

      • Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
        Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
        The dark days are gone, and the bright days are here,
        My sunny one shines so sincere.
        Sunny one so true, I love you.

  9. Why many people travel from cold countries to Thailand spending big money in tickets if >+30C is so terrible? Maybe, just maybe people wanted not +2C, but rather +25C, or even more. I firmly believe human is not built for temperatures below +28C. Not that I liked to sleep in +28C. I’m so accustomed to cold my limit appears to be at +24C. After that, I will have harder to sleep.
    By the way, it is not the humidity unless in very hot weather, it is the rain. If it is raining the whole day, it is boring. I should know. We joke on Bergen here.

    • You do get used to higher temperatures for sleeping, but 30C is too high imo. A good breeze (natural or artificial) helps enormously, though. In India I sometimes used to soak a sheet and sleep under it with the fan on high. When it dried out, I woke up, then repeated, all night.

    • I remember being ecstatic the beautiful bright sunshiny day the temperature went up to -15°F.
      People in hot climates go about cheerfully on days that would leave me cowering miserably in front of an air conditioner.
      It would be interesting to know if the study’s results change depending on local norms. In Inuvik the average high in July doesn’t quite reach 20°F. The mean monthly sunshine hours for December are zero. Based on the study you would expect the residents of Inuvik to be terminally depressed … but they aren’t. 🙂

  10. Judging from the snarling that went on at WUWT yesterday…I think ‘sunspots’ or maybe ‘lack of sunspots’ has a major influence on the tone of social media interaction!

  11. Days with a humidity level of 80% or higher were associated with negative expressions, as were days with a high amount of cloud cover.

    So in my home town in tropical Australia, with continual high temperatures and high humidity, people should be miserable, but they’re not.
    Mind you, back in the UK where it’s normally cold and damp, they are a miserable lot…

    • Im one aussie that would be miserable up nth qld or topend wa
      the dry heat inland and most of the lower areas is fine
      add humidity and i have to go sit inside with a fan on
      age sure has an effect on handling heat as well
      i hated the cold when younger but oddly(to me) i seems to cope better with cold, in apite of arthritis now.

  12. I want $$$$$ just to have to wade through a study like that. Send me money. I want cash, and I want it yesterday. Cash will make me happy. Yes, it will. Cash, and a new car and pancakes with lots of butter and maple syrup.

  13. study gathered 2.4 billion posts from Facebook and 1.1 billion from Twitter between the years 2009 and 2016

    Creepy. Are we all OK about that?

    a special tool

    Enquiring minds…… or do they?

    based on keywords as positive or negative

    Is anyone gonna speculate what it might make of Monty Python, the English Sense of Humoour or my mood (of sillyness) right now.
    My little story,a sort of antidote (that is NOT the right word but..) to Tom Of Florida came from working outdoors on the engine of my previous little truck. Afternoon of New Years’ Day 2014 in Cumbria.
    A dry/reasonable day became cold and the mizzle (cross of mist and drizzle) started. I got thoroughly damp trying to finish the job before dark.
    For 2 days after, I had something akin to a cold or flu – but it wasn’t. No headaches, no high temperature but just generally felt ‘crap’ Physically and mentally.
    Just out of something to do to try diagnose this thing – I discovered my blood glucose numbers were off-the-scale. Dangerously high. I have never had such a fright in my life.
    Morning of the 3rd day and I awoke feeling fine, the thing had gone and my blood glucose was back in the normal range.
    So, would this ‘special tool’ (chuckles to the point of tears) have diagnosed that?
    Peta control yourself!!!!!
    (A small part of what’s got me going is (yet) another epic Met Office fail. They predicted one month’s worth of rain over London and the SE including me here and – you guessed- it is turning into One Great Big Phat Zero)
    ha ha ha

    • Well, there are so many confounding variables that it’s not really measurable (you’d also have to correct for sports scores, exams, and life events as well as sarcasm and wit), but just comparing the ratios of positive to negative posts should give an indication that there is an effect.
      The biggest question is the purpose of this. was it just to test the old saying of rain making a day a day blue? It does not seem to be a reasonable use of funds.

    • Did they get their Facebook and Twitter data through Cambridge Analytica? I guess this use of ostensibly private data is OK?

  14. People have always liked carping about crappy weather, but now, there’s a new twist, because True Believers use it as a proxy for “climate change”. Indeed, you can usually tell a True Believer (but you can’t tell them much, pa-dum), by the way they complain, especially about warmer weather, heavy rains, etc. They will also often complain about things like insects, and how they are supposedly “getting worse”, “fewer birds”, and a whole host of things the Climatists have tried to connect with “climate change”.

  15. I’ll take the position that the correlation is clearly indicating that sentiment on social media is controlling the weather, (can I get me a consensus here?).
    If we are required to prove that CO2 is not controlling global temperature then it seems fair to me that they should be required to prove that sentiment on social media is not controlling the weather.

    • Original Mike M – “… we are required to prove that CO2 is not controlling global temperature …”
      Aye, there’s the rub. We are required to prove that something which cannot be measured does not exist.

  16. “We find that how we express ourselves is shaped by the weather outside,” The “we” refers to the empty heads who have nothing else to worry about. The rest of us just go to work and get on with doing useful things

  17. They used a computer to analyze the posts?
    Right there, they have disqualified themselves.
    I’ve yet to meet a computer that can understand humor and sarcasm. Heck, there’s a lot of humans who still don’t get either.

    • You should meet Yellowstone, the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s supercomputer (coal powered, by the way).

  18. Well, don’t under estimate the ability of mankind to be able to waste time and money. I know webcammers who everyday log in to a site just to be able to try the bot trivia quizzes and are proud of their increasing point total. I know of many chess players who have bought a computer chess software package who spend most of their day playing against someone else’s computer chess program and each one of them is proud that they win games against each other but they are all deceiving themselves because they are attributing their programs win as if they themselves had accomplished the win. The list is endless including responding to this article like I am doing now wasting my time. On that note it has been studied that grief counselors are a waste of time and money. Protecting “hertiage buildings” are a waste of taxpayer money. Every heritage building eventually falls down if not propped up by taxpayer money. Who defines what heritage is? Modern art is also a waste of time. Throwing paint at a canvas has fooled art historians who thought that a painting was legitimate. Again the list is endless. Perhaps 40% of government expenditure is a complete waste of money. I worked in government for 30 years so I know a few things. This latest posting article is just another prime example of the folly of humankind. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAgh.

  19. …”the authors of the present study gathered 2.4 billion posts from Facebook and 1.1 billion from Twitter between the years 2009 and 2016.”
    Hey – that’s a lot of expensive person hours. [My commercial rate is $50.00]
    And so the sponsor was ………………?

  20. Climate change causes comments on websites, servers consume energy, coal is used, climate changes.

  21. We now know why people who live in cold climates, like Germany and Russia, are always pacifists.

  22. Study suggests Facebook, Twitter sentiments correlate with weather patterns – no mention of climate linked sentiments

    It is the opposite: weather patterns correlate with Facebook, Twitter sentiments. Another proof of CAGW/sarc

  23. “Positive expressions increase up to 20 degrees Celsius and decline as the temperature goes over 30 degrees Celsius. They also found that precipitation was associated with more negative expressed sentiment. Days with a humidity level of 80% or higher were associated with negative expressions, as were days with a high amount of cloud cover”.
    That suggests the entire humid tropics is a sea of negativity and misery.
    Better cancel that holiday in Bali

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