Recurring tidal waves are expected to worsen as sea level continues to rise due to climate change, but, as a new study warns, a regular 18.6-year cycle involving the moon could lead to unprecedented flooding along U.S. shores in the 2030s.
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Annoying flooding, flooding on sunny days or flooding at high tide – it’s all the same, and a nasty pain in the butt. In 2019 NOAA tracked more than 600 of these recurring floods at high tide, with high water protruding 0.6 meters above the standard. These floods are not life-threatening, but they can damage coastal infrastructure in affected areas and cause annoyance, such as flooded parking lots. Needless to say flooding is happening more often due to human-induced climate change, and it risks getting 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 paper’s authors, led by Phil Thompson of the University of Hawaii, say the confluence of rising sea levels and a periodic swing in the moon’s orbit will increase the frequency and severity of tidal waves along the shores of the American ocean. By the mid-2030s, tidal waves could occur in batches lasting a month or more and on an almost daily basis, the scientists say. Members of NASA’s Sea Level Change Science Team at the University of Hawaii contributed to this research.
Scientists have known about this wobble in the moon’s orbit since the early 1700s, and how alignments involving the moon, Earth, and sun can affect tides. During the first half of this cycle, the high water is lower than the normal average and the low water is higher than normal. During the other half of the cycle, both the ebb and ebb are amplified, making them appear both higher and lower than normal. The reason for this has to do with the moon’s gravitational pull, which causes Earth’s ocean tides. We are currently in the amplification phase of this cycle, but the moon’s gravity does not affect the tides to the extent expected in the mid-2030s, when the amplification phase renews.
This is all known, but scientists now need to predict the effect of this lunar cycle in the age of climate change and rising sea levels. Indeed, the situation looks bad, Moon wobbles or not. NOAA figures paint a grim picture, with estimates suggesting that 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 scenario for sea level rise that scientists have modeled and researchers have discovered Growing Worrying Signs About Antarctica’s Ice. From 2014 almost 2014 40% of the US population lives in coastal areas that may be vulnerable to rising sea levels.
“Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering from increasing flooding, and it will only get worse,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. statement. “The combination of the lunar pull, rising sea levels and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding on our coasts and around the world.”
To build the new predictive model, Thompson and his colleagues studied tidal information collected from 90 meters scattered along U.S. shores, statistics on high tide flooding and meteorological events such as El Niño events, astronomical cycles, and other data points. Recurrent flooding is expected to become more frequent along nearly all coasts of the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam. Alaska won’t experience these problems for a decade or more because the land masses are actually increasing due to geological processes.
Thompson said high-tide floods aren’t as bad as hurricane storm surges, but he warned of the cumulative effects and also of the emergence of “seeping cesspools” as a public health problem. Urban planners should take note of the new findings and act accordingly, the scientists conclude in the study.
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