The moon “swings” and climate change is seen as triggering coastal flooding in the 2030s Reuters


© Reuters. File photo: On November 27, 2019, Oceanside, California, USA, high tide waves over the rocks and washed onto the road. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Dan Fastberg

(Reuters)-According to research led by NASA scientists, as the regularity of the lunar cycle will magnify the sea level rise caused by climate change, the U.S. coastline will face more and more floods in the mid-2030s.

A key factor identified by the scientists is the periodic “swing” of the moon’s orbit — first discovered in the 18th century — which took 18.6 years to complete. The gravity of the moon helps to propel the tides of the earth.

In half of this lunar cycle, the Earth’s daily tides have decreased, with high tides lower than usual and low tides higher than usual. In the other half of the cycle, the situation is the opposite, with high tide and low tide.

The researchers said that the expected flooding will be a combined result of the continuous rise in sea levels associated with climate change and the arrival of the enlarged part of the lunar cycle in the mid-2030s.

“In the context, our long-term sea level rise is related to global warming. It causes sea levels to rise everywhere,” Ben Hamlinton, the NASA team leader and one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.

“This effect from the moon causes the tide to change, so we found that this effect is consistent with potential sea level rise, which will lead to flooding from 2030 to 2040,” Hamlinton said.

Researchers studied 89 tide gauge locations in every state and territory along the coast of the United States, with the exception of Alaska. The dynamic effects apply to the entire planet, except for the far north coastline like Alaska.

This forecast advances previous estimates of severe coastal flooding by approximately 70 years.

The research was published this month in the journal Nature Climate Change and was led by members of NASA’s scientific team that track changes in sea level. NASA said that the focus of this study is the coast of the United States, but the results of the study are applicable to the coasts of the world.

“This is an eye-opener for many people,” Hamlinton said. “For planners, this is really very important information. And I think people are very interested in trying to put this information about science and scientists into the hands of planners.”

Hanlington said that city planners should plan accordingly.

“A building or a particular infrastructure, you may want to stay there for a long time, while others you may only want to protect or visit for a few years.”

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