Moon wobble to bring surge in coastal flooding in 2030s, NASA study predicts

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CNN 13 July, 2021 - 05:08pm 31 views

Does the moon wobble?

- According to the Nasa's website, when the Moon makes its elliptical orbit, its velocity varies and alters causing our perspective of the "light side" to appear at slightly different angles. This is what it calls the Moon's wobble or that is how it appears to our eyes. Hindustan TimesNasa says Moon's 'wobble' will cause devastating floods: Here's what it means

Nuisance flooding, sunny day flooding, or high-tide flooding—it’s all the same thing, and an annoying pain in the ass. In 2019, NOAA tracked more than 600 of these recurring high-tide flooding events, in which high tides extend 2 feet (0.6 meters) above the norm. These floods aren’t life threatening, but they can damage coastal infrastructure in affected areas and create annoyances like flooded parking lots. Needless to say, nuisance flooding is happening more frequently on account of human-induced climate change, and it’s poised to get even worse as sea levels continue to rise.

If that’s not bad enough, an 18.6-year lunar cycle is expected to amplify this effect even further, according to new research published in Nature Climate Change. The authors of the paper, led by Phil Thompson from the University of Hawaii, say the confluence of rising sea levels and a periodic wobble in the Moon’s orbit will increase the frequency and severity of high-tide floods along U.S. ocean coastlines. By the mid-2030s, tidal floods could occur in batches that last for a month or more and on a nearly daily basis, the scientists say. Members of NASA’s Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii contributed to this research.

Scientists have known about this wobble in the Moon’s orbit since the early 18th century, as well as how alignments involving the Moon, Earth, and Sun can influence the tides. During the first half of this cycle, high tides are below the normal average and low tides are higher than normal. During the other half of the cycle, both the high and low tides are amplified, appearing both higher and lower than usual. The reason for this has to do with the Moon’s gravitational pull, which causes Earth’s ocean tides. We’re currently in the amplification phase of this cycle, but the Moon’s gravity is not affecting tides to the degree expected in the mid-2030s when the amplification phase renews.

This is all well known, but scientists are now having to predict the effect of this lunar cycle in the era of climate change and rising sea levels. Indeed, the situation looks bad, Moon wobble or no. Figures provided by NOAA paint a grim picture, with estimates suggesting global sea levels will rise by at least 12 inches (0.3 meters) by the turn of the century. Unfortunately, the world is currently on track for the worst-case sea level rise scenario that scientists have modeled and researchers have uncovered increasing worrisome signs about Antarctica’s ice. As of 2014, nearly 40% of the U.S. population inhabits coastal areas that could be vulnerable to rising sea levels.

“Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it will only get worse,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. “The combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding on our coastlines and across the world.”

To build the new predictive model, Thompson and his colleagues studied tidal information gathered by 90 gauges distributed along U.S. coasts, statistics on high-tide flooding and meteorological events like El Niño events, astronomical cycles, among other data points. Recurrent high-tide floods are expected to happen more often along nearly all U.S. mainland coastlines, Hawaii, and Guam. Alaska won’t experience these problems for at least another decade or longer, because its land masses are actually rising on account of geological processes.

Thompson said that high-tide floods are not as bad as hurricane storm surges, but he warned of the cumulative effects and also the emergence of “seeping cesspools” as a public health issue. Urban planners should take notice of the new findings and act accordingly, the scientists conclude in the study.

More: Sea level rise alone threatens to crush the global economy.

Read full article at CNN

Moon's 'wobble' may cause 'devastating' floods in 2030, predicts NASA; here's what it means

The Tribune 13 July, 2021 - 07:33pm

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Photo for representation only. Source: iStock.

High tide floods would increase rapidly across the world—especially in the United States—in the mid-2030s, and it's linked with Earth's neighbour, the Moon, reported the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The NASA study claims a 'wobble' in the Moon's orbit combined with rising sea levels due to climate change will lead to devastating floods on Earth.

This was published in the journal Nature Climate Change on June 21.

These floods currently occur in the coastal areas where the tide reaches about 2-feet above the daily average high tide. The floods are called "nuisance floods'" 

Reportedly, the 'nuisance floods' will become more frequent and irregular by the mid-2030s. 

The majority of the US coastline would see three to four times an increase in high tides for at least a decade, according to the NASA study.

"Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it will only 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 across the world."

The study further predicts that during the period, these floods will sometimes occur in clusters for a month or longer depending on the positions of the Moon, Earth, and the Sun. 

“When the Moon and Earth line up in specific ways with each other and the Sun, the resulting gravitational pull and the ocean’s corresponding response may leave city-dwellers coping with floods every day or two,” said the study led by the members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii.

Explaining the result, the study said: “The main reason is a regular wobble in the Moon’s orbit that takes 18.6 years to complete. There’s nothing new or dangerous about the wobble; it was first reported in 1728. 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.”

“Half of the 18.6-year lunar cycle counteracts the effect of sea-level rise on high tides, and the other half increases the effect. The Moon is in the tide-amplifying part of its cycle now. However, along most US coastlines, sea levels have not risen so much that even with this lunar assist, high tides regularly top flooding thresholds.”

The situation will be different the next time the Moon's cycle comes around to amplify tides again, in the mid-2030s, said the study.

“Global sea-level rise will have been at work for another decade. The higher seas, amplified by the lunar cycle, will cause a leap in flood numbers on almost all U.S. mainland coastlines, Hawaii, and Guam,” the study suggested.

Talking about the impact, Phil Thompson—an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and the lead author of the study—said as high tide floods involve a small amount of water compared to hurricane storm surge.

“But if it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater. People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue,” he explained.

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‘Wobble’ in Moon’s orbit will cause devastating floods in the 2030s – NASA

The Federal 13 July, 2021 - 07:33pm

While flooding caused due to lunar cycle is common, the frequency of high tides will increase now mainly due to heating caused as a result of climate change

A ‘wobble’ in Moon’s orbit will cause devastating floods in areas along coastlines in the 2030s, says a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) study, adding that US coastline will be the worst affected.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson warned that low-lying areas near sea are increasingly at risk and will suffer the most due to more flooding events.

Nelson said that while flooding caused due to lunar cycle is common, the frequency of high tides will increase now mainly due to heating caused as a result of climate change. “The combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding on our coastlines and across the world. NASA is providing crucial information so that we can plan, protect, and prevent damage to the environment and people’s livelihoods affected by flooding,” Nelson said.

The US Atlantic and Gulf coasts frequently face high-tide floods – commonly known as nuisance floods or sunny day floods – but they were never considered a threat. For instance, 600+ such floods were experienced along the US coasts in 2019 alone. Phil Thompson, the lead author of the study that was published in ‘Nature Climate Change’, said that starting in the mid-2030s, the alignment of rising sea levels with a lunar cycle will cause coastal cities all around the U.S. to begin a decade of dramatic increases in flood numbers.

Also read: Heatwave effect can be cut by decongesting cities

The study suggests that the decade-long flooding event will occur every day or two and in clusters, which may last a month or even longer, depending on the positions of the Moon, Earth, and the Sun. “When the Moon and Earth line up in specific ways with each other and the Sun, the resulting gravitational pull and the ocean’s corresponding response may leave city dwellers coping with floods every day or two,” said Jane J. Lee of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

A regular wobble in the Moon’s orbit takes 18.6 years to complete. NASA says that such a wobble is common and was not considered dangerous so far. NASA first reported it in 1728. 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.

Also read: ‘X’-class solar flare to hit Earth’s atmosphere; can impact GPS, mobile signal

“It’s the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact,” said Thompson, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii. He said that since high-tide floods involve a small amount of water compared to hurricane storms, it is possible that people may think of it as “a less significant problem overall”. What scientists are trying to emphasis is that if flooding occurs 10 or 15 times a month, businesses will get affected and people will lose their jobs, which will lead to chaos.

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