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Weather Effects on Mobile Social Interactions: 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 interactions 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 interactions; 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 interactions. We found that although weather did not show much 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: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2012

Volume: 7

Issue: 10

Print publication date: 30/11/2012

Date deposited: 27/02/2013

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045745


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Funder referenceFunder name
School of Computing Science of Newcastle University
EP/G066019/1Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme