Lunar cycle coupled with rising sea levels will see coastal flooding surge in mid 2030s

Published: Thursday, 15 July 2021 09:48

According to research by members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii, in the mid-2030s US coastal cities and communities will ‘experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change’. The result will be ‘a decade of dramatic increases in flood numbers’.

The research study shows that high tides will exceed known flooding thresholds around the US more often and the floods will sometimes occur in clusters lasting a month or longer, depending on the positions of the Moon, Earth, and the Sun.

The main reason for the decadal increase in flooding is a ‘regular wobble in the Moon’s orbit that takes 18.6 years to complete’. The subsequent impact on the Moon’s gravitational pull - the main cause of Earth’s tides - will combine with rising sea levels resulting from the planet’s warming.

A high-tide flood tool exists on the NASA team’s sea level portal, a resource for decision-makers and the general public. The flood tool will be updated in the near future with the findings from this study.

More details.