One Gravitational Thing: Moon “Wobble” Could Increase Coastal Flooding


Image: Defi22 via Wikimedia Commons

A new study from NASA has found that a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit may cause frequent coastal flooding well into the 2030s. Phil Thompson, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, describes what that could mean for coastal communities. “If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater,” he said. “People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work…seeping cesspools become a public health issue.”

Researchers are primarily concerned about how intensifying tidal activity due to the “wobble” will combine with climate change-related sea-level rise. They’ve created a new framework to predict flooding thresholds through 2080. Still, for communities on U.S. coastlines, Hawaii, and Guam, what comes next may not be so predictable.

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