An increase in extreme weather events is already causing serious concern for everyone from climate scientists to ordinary people sloshing around in flooded basements.
To compound the growing number of climate problems humanity is already facing, NASA said that periodic “wobbling” of the moon will combine with rising sea levels to cause increasingly serious flood events along the coasts of the United States and beyond cause.
According to a recent study by NASA’s Sea Level Change Team published this month in the Nature Climate Change Journal, the gravitational pull of the moon is likely to lead to “a dramatic increase in flooding” in coastal cities by the mid-2030s.
NASA paints a bleak picture for some communities that live near the sea: “If the moon and earth are in some way aligned with each other and with the sun, the resulting gravitational pull and response of the ocean can cause urban dwellers Coping with floods. “Every day or two,” added that such events also occur in clusters and could last for more than a month at a time.
According to NASA, the wiggle of the moon is a natural, recurring event that occurs over its 18.6-year cycle. During half of the cycle, the gravitational pull of the moon suppresses the daily tides, decreasing the high tide, and increasing the low tide. But during the other half of the cycle the tides intensify, with the tide increasing and the ebb decreasing.
Right now, the Moon is in the tide-enhancing part of its cycle, but current sea levels mean most of the coastal cities in the US are still out of harm’s way. However, when the next tide-aggravating cycle hits in the 2030s, researchers say sea levels will have continued to rise, with NASA data predicting potentially problematic flooding events for some coastal communities.
Phil Thompson, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the NASA study, said that while floods tend to be less severe than hurricane storm surges, the former could be particularly problematic if they happen several times a month, eventually, as Thompson put it “A company cannot continue to work with its underwater parking lot. People lose their jobs because they cannot come to work. Seeping cesspools are becoming a public health problem. “
Commenting on the results of the study, NASA chief Bill Nelson said: “Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffer from the increasing flooding, and it is only getting worse.”
One glimmer of hope, however, was that NASA’s Sea Level Change Team is working to provide vital information so cities can “plan, protect, and prevent damage to the environment and the livelihoods of people affected by floods.”