Moon wobble: NASA predicts surge in coastal flooding in 2030s
LOS ANGELES - A "wobble" in the moon’s orbit in the mid-2030s will cause high tide floods amid rising sea levels, according to a study from NASA published on July 7.
NASA warned that cities along the U.S. coast could experience floods weekly.
"When the Moon and Earth line up in specific ways with each other and the Sun, the resulting gravitational pull and the ocean’s corresponding response may leave city dwellers coping with floods every day or two," NASA researchers wrote.
The study was led by members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii. Researchers say a wobble in the moon’s orbit around the Earth, which takes 18.6 years to complete, will impact the planet’s sea level.
The gravitational pull of the moon, exacerbated by ongoing climate change, is expected to have negative impacts on coastal cities.
"It’s the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact," said Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and the lead author of the study. "But if it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot under water. People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue."
NASA says the wobble of the moon itself is nothing to be concerned about.
"There’s nothing new or dangerous about the wobble," researchers say.
This phenomenon was first reported in 1728 and has been known to contribute to Earth’s tides.
While the Earth already experiences higher tides during half of the moon’s time orbiting around our planet, the global sea level is already rising due to the planet’s warming, NASA scientists explained.
This will result in unusually higher sea levels once the moon enters its wobbling stage.
In April, NASA published a separate study in which they found direct evidence that shows how humans are impacting and causing a change in Earth’s climate.
RELATED: NASA finds direct evidence that humans are causing climate change
The study, which was described as a first of its kind, calculated driving forces and found they increased between 2003 and 2018, accounting for nearly all of the long‐term growth in the total top‐of‐atmosphere radiation imbalance during this period.
"We confirm that rising greenhouse gas concentrations account for most of the increases in the radiative forcing, along with reductions in reflective aerosols. This serves as direct evidence that anthropogenic activity has affected Earth’s energy budget in the recent past," NASA wrote.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. Stephanie Weaver contributed.