A new study by NASA says that the moon’s wobble, combined with rising sea levels, will cause frequent and devastating high tides and flooding by the mid-2030s.
The moon’s wobble, first reported in 1728, is a regular oscillation in the moon’s 18.6-year cycle. But NASA says, “What’s new is how one of the wobble’s effects on the moon’s gravitational pull – the main cause of earth’s tides – will combine with rising sea levels resulting from the planet’s warming.”
The “wobble” is reached at certain points in the moon’s cycle when the gravitational pull is at such an angle that it will pull one of the day’s two tides a bit higher. Indeed, the study says that high tide flooding will break records, by a factor of many times, in the next decade.
The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, a scientific journal, was conducted by NASA and the University of Hawaii. It says the next wobble will be in the mid-2030s, when high tides, flooding, and damage to infrastructure will be much worse.
Flood tides can occur in clusters, lasting more than a month, depending on the relative positions of the moon, earth, and sun. In certain alignments, floods could happen every day or every other day.
‘Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it only will get worse,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The combination of the moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding on our coastlines and around the world.”
A major problem with increasingly high tides is their frequency “It’s the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact,” said Phil Thompson, the lead author of the NASA study. “If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot under water. People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue.” Read more: