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Business News/ Science / News/  Moon's wobble, rise in sea levels will lead to record flooding in 2030s: NASA
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Moon's wobble, rise in sea levels will lead to record flooding in 2030s: NASA

These flooding events currently occur in coastal areas when the tide reaches about two feet above the daily average high tide. While the coastal US currently deals with just two or three floods a month, the frequency will soon increase three to four times in the coastline

The combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding (AP)Premium
The combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding (AP)

While global climate change has been a cause of extreme weather conditions for the last few years, a new study has found out that a 'wobble' in Moon's orbit combined with rising sea levels will lead to erratic and devastating floods.

The study, conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 'nuisance floods' will become more frequent and irregular by mid-2030s.

These flooding events currently occur in coastal areas when the tide reaches about two feet above the daily average high tide. While the coastal US currently deals with just two or three floods a month, the frequency will soon increase three to four times in the coastline, reported Live Science.

These floods will also not be spread out evenly but are likely to cluster together over the span of just a few months.

If there is no planning done for such events, will cause major disruptions to lives and livelihoods. Such 'nuisance' floods already cause disruptions by inundating streets and homes, forcing businesses to close and causing cesspools to overflow.

"It's the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact," lead study author Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, said.

"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," he added.

There were around 600 such floods in the US in 2019.

“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," he added.

Explaining the phenomenon, Thomson said that the wobble in the Moon's orbit takes 18.6 years to complete. While the wobble has always been there, what makes it dangerous is that it will combine with the rising sea levels due to the planet's warming.

In half of these 18.6 years, the Earth's regular tides are suppressed: high tides are lower than normal and low tides higher than normal. In the other half, the effect is reversed, which is called the tide-amplifying phase of the Moon.

The researchers have found that we are currently in the tide-amplifying part of the cycle; the next tide-amplifying cycle begins in the mid-2030s.


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Published: 13 Jul 2021, 02:06 PM IST
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