The Weird Ways Weather Affects Everyday Situations

January 30th 2016

Thor Benson

Many people from colder, drearier climates are familiar with the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that starts in the fall and continues through the winter.


But in addition to mood shifts, there are many other ways that weather can impact our lives—some in very unexpected ways. From how you spend your money to your relationships status to the color of your #OOTD, much of your life can be altered by what it looks like outside.


One might think weather would affect tipping in a negative way, because bad weather can lead to a crummy mood and therefore, less willingness to dish out cash.

But in early 2015, GrubHub looked at how tips were affected by weather and found that residents from New York City, Boston and Chicago were more generous with gratuity during snow storms, and delivery people experienced anywhere between six and 12 percent hike. It actually makes sense, since people often feel bad for making the delivery person trudge through a blizzard all in the name of chicken fried rice, so they might compensate with extra funds.

Related: Extreme Weather Becoming a Problem Worldwide


roman holiday

It's a known that people tend to couple up when the temperatures drop, perhaps it's for warmth. Many refer to winter as "cuffing season," when people often try to find a partner for cuddling under the covers. Studies have shown that people tend to prefer romantic movies over other genres when it's cold outside, and a 2011 study found they tend to have more sex, too: 15 percent of couples reported more bedroom romps during cold times.


Marilyn monroe pink

It's a no brainer that you'll wear warmer clothing when it's cold outside and less clothing when it's warm, but cold weather can actually make women (maybe men too?) wear warmer colors. Colors like red, orange and pink see an uptick in popularity during the winter, according to a 2014 study in PLoS ONE. Pretty much anything that represents warmth gets more common during the winter: Warm bodies, warm colors, warm food, you get the picture.

Mental Health

Besides just feeling depressed when it's been dreary for a while, weather can have other negative mental effects. Several studies, including a 2011 report from The Climate Institute out of Australia and one from the National Wildlife Federation, have found people can have severe mental health issues, like anxiety disorder and PTSD, related to extreme weather. Extreme events like hurricanes and tornadoes are obviously devastating but researchers claim that the stress caused by them can linger for much longer, in some cases even leading to substance abuse or suicide.



It's possible that weather might even be able to change the outcome of an election. A 2004 study from Stanford University found weather can have a large impact on voter turnout, as people are less likely to vote when they have to face harsh conditions to do it. Many experts have argued that Democrats reap the benefits of higher voter turnout, so less voters could potentially help Republicans win.

Related: What Cold Weather Does to Your Weight