The belief that weather influences people's health has been prevalent for millennia. Recent studies on the relationship between weather and pain for those who suffer from chronic pain remain indeterminate, with some studies finding strong effects and others finding no effects; most studies face limitations to their study design or dataset size. To address these limitations, a U.K.-wide smartphone study Cloudy with a Chance of Pain was conducted over 15 months with 10,584 citizen scientists who suffer from chronic pain, producing the largest dataset both in duration and number of participants. Compared to other similar citizen-science studies, our retention of participants was substantially better, with 15% still entering data nearly every day after 200 days. This presentation from the 2022 AMS Weather Band Community and Citizen Science Symposium describes the study, the data collection, and results of this project, revealing the strongest evidence to date of the effect of weather upon pain in weather-sensitive individuals.
David M. Schultz is Professor of Synoptic Meteorology at the University of Manchester and Director of the Centre for Crisis Studies and Mitigation, an interdisciplinary network of researchers at the university who study natural hazards and their impacts on society. Among his research interests are the physical processes that produce hazardous weather events such as heavy rain, tornadoes, snowstorms, and windstorms.