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Moon ‘wooble’: Nasa predicts record flooding in the 2030s

Washington: Scientists at Nasa predict that US coastlines will experience increased flooding in the mid-2030s due to a regular lunar cycle that will magnify rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Researchers identified a regular ‘wobble’ in the moon’s orbit – first discovered in the 18th century – that takes 18.6 years to complete. As a result of the moon’s gravity, tides are driven on Earth.

During the first half of this lunar cycle, Earth’s regular daily tides are diminished, with higher low tides and lower high tides. On the other half of the cycle, low tides are higher and high tides are lower.

The flooding will be caused by a combination of climate change-induced sea-level rise and the onset of an amplification period of the lunar cycle in the mid-2030s, the researchers explained.

‘We are experiencing long-term sea level rise associated with global warming. Water levels are rising everywhere,’ Ben Hamlington, Nasa team leader and one of the study’s authors told the media.

A total of 89 tide gauges were surveyed in every US state and territory except Alaska. The effect of the dynamic applies to the entire planet, except for far northern coastlines, such as Alaska.

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According to the prediction, coastal flooding will be serious about 70 years sooner than previously forecast.

The study, published this month in Nature Climate Change, was conducted by Nasa scientists who study sea level changes. Researchers focused on US coasts, but the study’s findings could be applied worldwide, Nasa said.

‘This is eye-opening for a lot of people,’ said Hamlington. ‘It’s really critical information for planners, and I believe there is a lot of interest in trying to get this information from scientists to planners.’

Hamlington advised city planners to plan accordingly. ‘You may want to stay in a building or a particular piece of infrastructure for a very long time, while something else you will only want to protect or use for a few years.’


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