A NASA study has predicted that a wobble in the moon's orbit will bring a surge in coastal flooding in the 2030s.

Iran PressSci & Tech: Nearly all US mainland coastal areas will see a surge in high tide floods in the mid-2030s when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels, a NASA study found.

a "dramatic" surge in high tide floods is just over a decade away in the US, CNN reported.

The rapid increase will start in the mid-2030s, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by the climate crisis, found a new study led by the members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii. Only far northern coastlines, such as Alaska's, will get at least another decade's respite because long-term geological processes are leading to these land areas rising.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to take into account all known oceanic and astronomical causes for floods, the agency said in a news release.

High tide floods involve less water than storm surges from a hurricane, but the study's lead author warns that doesn't mean they are a less significant problem overall. "It's the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact," said Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii's department of oceanography, in a news statement.

Lunar cycle's effect on sea levels

The reason for this expected surge is tied to the moon's 18.6-year cycle.

Right now, it's in the half that amplifies tides -- meaning high tides get higher and low tides get lower. Along most US coastlines, current sea levels have not risen so much that high tides regularly top flooding thresholds.
But that won't be the case next time around, which is in the mid-2030s.

That's because of how a wobble in the moon's orbit combines with rising sea levels. The wobble isn't new -- it was first reported in 1728. But how this movement affects the moon's gravitational pull, the main cause of the Earth's tides, will spark these new flooding concerns when it combines with rising sea levels.


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