The moon and sea could come together to cause major flooding in 2030s5 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
A new NASA study reported that in the next ten to fifteen years, higher tides along with rising sea-levels could cause major flooding along the American coastline.
This increase in flooding will happen in part because of the moon wobble. You already know that the earth wobbles. Something similar happens with the moon.
The moon has a very long orbit, and it is not centered. So, every 18.6 years, the moon wobbles around the Earth causing a change in tides. In 2030, the moon will wobble closer to the Earth thus making its gravitational pull much stronger. This in turn will lead to higher tides.
Simultaneously, it is projected that sea-level will rise by two inches in 2030.
These two factors combined could very well be the reason for catastrophic flooding along the US coastline in the next decade.
One of the authors of the reports, Gary Mitchum — associate dean at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, likens this phenomenon to a person flapping water in a bathtub. The wave caused by the flap is the tide, and the water in the bathtub is the sea-level. Now, chances of spillage are higher as the level of water in the bathtub rises.
The two are not seemingly related to each other outside of the bathtub, but they could come together to cause a major mess in the bathroom.
The study states that the strongest impact of this combination will be felt in mid 2030s and into the 2040s. This is when the lunar cycle will shift again.
Some of the effects are already making themselves known. While water spilling into communities because of the play of tides is common, reports show that its frequency is on the rise. Between May 2020 to April 2021, some cities along the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf Coast have witnessed high amount of flooding. A few places have even seen twenty days of flooding!
Such a trend will continue in the next decade where projections show close to seven to fifteen days of such flooding. This will increase to 25 to 75 days a year in 2050.
The impact of the floods will be experienced beyond an ecological standpoint too. If cities along the coastline are not able to adapt to the change, then it will lead to migration leaving some places deserted. This will impact the economic progress of certain spaces. Imagine a market area where the parking is flooded for 75 days in a year. It will definitely not attract buyers or consumers, and will directly impact employment.
While most of what is happening is inevitable, some measures can be taken to mitigate the issue. The researchers say in the short term, the onus lies on local communities to avoid activities that will lead to an increase in sea-level. But in the long run, the onus lies on all of us as a global community to do the same.
With excerpts from Washington Post and Fox 29