Yes, the south wind drives us ‘crazy’: why we notice changes in weather in our body

Plantar fasciitis and a change of residence helped the doctor in Atmospheric Physics Mar Gómez, ‘weather woman’ on several television and radio stations, to see how meteorologically sensitive she is. The fasciitis was fixed with surgery, but she left him a check that promptly informs him of weather changes. And as soon as she moved from the center of Madrid to a house on the outskirts that was very exposed to inclement weather, especially to “an intense, gusty wind, and in summer, hot and dry,” she began to feel “irritated, unwell.” mood and with severe headaches. Every time the wind blew she felt the same thing. And about a year after she moved in, her skin and scalp problems arrived. So she, using her knowledge, began to investigate.

The result of his search gave rise to the book ‘Meteorosensitives. How the weather affects our physical and mental health’ (Peninsula ed.), where it addresses the problems of “those people who have a certain sensitivity to changes in meteorological variables such as humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure or wind.” “These changes can lead to the appearance of physical ailments and psychopathological states as a consequence of variations in central neurotransmitter activity.” Linked all to the climate crisis in which we are immersed, with changes in the weather to which we are not accustomed, the issue becomes more relevant; predictions predict a substantial growth in crime in cities due to rising temperatures.

It is estimated that between 30% and 60% of the population is meteorsensitive, especially women, especially during menstruation and menopause, and older people, the expert states. She adds that the problems begin when we leave our “atmospheric comfort zone”, which she places between 20º and 25º, with a relative humidity of between 40% and 70%, little wind (between 0.15 and 0 .25 meters per second), negative ionization, absence of contamination and normal atmospheric pressure (1,013.25 millibars). “When we get out of there, meteorological stress appears and meteor-sensitive people begin to notice changes in their health, especially if the variations are very drastic.” And these changes can be felt up to 48 hours before the phenomena in question occur.

The author assures that despite the abundant scientific literature on the subject, sometimes we allow ourselves to be carried away by unfounded beliefs, but it is true that “in scientific publications there are answers to questions such as ‘do my joints hurt when rain?’, ‘Do I feel more down on gray, wintry days?’, ‘Are my migraines stronger on days with intense wind?’, ‘Am I more angry and irritated when it’s very hot?’

Winds of madness: ‘foehn’

A study in Tarragona in 2009 found a relationship between the increase in outside temperature and the increase in psychiatric hospital emergencies. In addition, psychiatric illness tripled the risk of death during heat waves, since for these patients extreme heat can interact with medications and affect the ability to regulate body temperature; it does not cause mental illness, but it makes it worse. .

“The heat and dry environment can produce an increase in the number of homicides, murders, suicides, aggressive behavior or sexual crimes,” the author states. A study conducted in 1984 that analyzed more than 800 locations in the United States concluded that environmental factors could be used in predicting crime just as economic factors or population density. Something corroborated in the 2007 FBI report ‘Crime in the United States’, where meteorology is also mentioned as a predictive factor.


  • One more degree. Homicides
    In South Africa, a one-degree increase in daily maximum temperature was associated with a 1.5% increase in homicides. In Great Britain and Wales, between 1993 and 2003 and above 18º, each degree higher was associated with a 3.8% higher risk of suicide.

  • USA Negative emotions
    A 2016 study observed that at temperatures above 21º, positive emotions such as joy and happiness decreased and negative emotions, such as anger or stress, increased, compared to temperatures between 10 and 16º.

  • More heat. More horn
    The higher the temperature, the more we honk the horn, and the Police detect more erratic behavior and less willingness to help strangers.

Between 2008 and 2016, the community of Madrid carried out an analysis of the relationship between heat waves and sexist violence: for every degree that the maximum daily temperature exceeded 34º, femicides within the couple increased by 28.8% compared to average.

But if there is an issue that Mar Gómez places at the top of those that cause meteoriosensitivity, it is “the winds that transport ionized air masses with a positive charge”, a statement questioned by some voices but that the WHO already considers in its studies: “Certain Types of winds known as ‘foehn’ can lead to worsening depression, increased aggression and suicide rates. In addition, they can cause headaches and increase serotonin levels, agitation or irritability,” she says.

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