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Add a wobbly moon to flooding risk factors

Codes and Standards

Add a wobbly moon to flooding risk factors

Earth satellite’s orbit variations will lead to sunny-day flooding in the mid-2030s.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | July 27, 2021

As if rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms were not enough, add the wobbly orbit of the moon to flood risk factors.

Scientists say fluctuations in the moon’s orbit will lead to a spate of fair weather flooding beginning in the mid-2030s. A recent study examined regular fluctuations in the moon’s orbit around the Earth occurring on an 18.6 year cycle.

As the cycle progresses, the angle between the moon’s orbit and the Earth’s equator grows and shrinks. During half of the cycle, the moon’s pull amplifies the earth’s tides, leading to higher high tides and lower low tides.

Researchers say that this moon wobble effect will increase the number of flooding events significantly. They predict that Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico will see clusters of sunny-day floods in the mid-2030s, mid-2050s, and early 2070s. The northern Atlantic coast is expected to experience a spike in flooding in the mid-2040s and in the early 2060s.

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