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Weather Effects on Mobile Social Interaction: A case study of mobile phone users in Lisbon, Portugal

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Santi Phithakkitnukoon, Dr Tuck Leong, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD



The effect of weather on social interaction has been explored through the analysis of a large mobile phone use dataset. Time spent on phone calls, numbers of connected social ties, and tie strength were used as proxies for social interaction; while weather conditions were characterized in terms of temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. Our results are based on the analysis of a full calendar year of data for 22,696 mobile phone users (53.2 million call logs) in Lisbon, Portugal. The results suggest that different weather parameters have correlations to the level and character of social interaction. We found that although weather did not show significant influence upon people's average call duration, the likelihood of longer calls was found to increase during periods of colder weather. During periods of weather that were generally considered to be uncomfortable (i.e., very cold/warm, very low/high air pressure, and windy), people were found to be more likely to communicate with fewer social ties. Despite this tendency, we found that people are more likely to maintain their connections with those they have strong ties with much more than those of weak ties. This study sheds new light on the influence of weather conditions on social relationships and how mobile phone data can be used to investigate the influence of environmental factors on social dynamics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phithakkitnukoon S, Leong TW, Smoreda Z, Olivier P

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2012

Pages: 20

Print publication date: 01/02/2012

Source Publication Date: February 2012

Report Number: 1315

Institution: Newcastle University

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne