Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Don’t underestimate the power of the moon. Super full moons like the one Monday night happen when the moon is closest to Earth, and they bring higher tides. For coastal cities like Miami or Boston or Norfolk, high tides also mean an increased risk of flooding. Because of sea-level rise, these tides have started bringing the ocean into the city. But the moon’s orbit is slightly tilted, and this lunar nodal cycle shapes how we experience sea-level rise: the closer the moon is to the Equator, the more exaggerated the tides. After years in a period of less dramatic tides, the moon will soon swing into the part of its cycle that intensifies tides.
Why This Matters: “In short, the moon has very strong control over how we experience sea level. It doesn’t affect sea-level rise, but it can hide or exaggerate it,” writes Brian McNoldy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. For the past decade, the moon has not been as close to Earth. But in 2025, the cycle will move toward increased intensity. During that cycle, the moon’s pull will effectively double the rate of sea-level rise in Miami and other coastal cities.
Infrastructure by the Pull of the Moon
Understanding the moon’s nodal cycles makes the next four years even more important for building infrastructure to protect coastal areas from sea-level rise.
“During the most rapid downward phase of the lunar nodal cycle – like we’re in right now – we have a bit of a reprieve in the observed rate of sea-level rise, all other things being equal,” McNoldy writes. “These are the years to implement infrastructure plans to protect coastal areas against sea-level rise.”
For Miami, that means “a hundred new mega stormwater pumps, miles of 6-foot-tall sea walls, thousands of injection wells and a network of underground pipes so big and wide even the tallest NBA player could stroll through them without bumping his head,” according to the city’s new stormwater plan looking at the next 40 years, the Miami Herald reports. South Florida is expected to see 18 to 30 inches of sea-level rise by the end of the plan.
“The infrastructure needs to change starting now, you can’t wait for the water to arrive,” oceanographer John Englander told the Miami Herald. “This isn’t a choice. If the water is rising, we will adapt or we will move.”
Jeff Bezos’ commercial space venture, Blue Origin, plans to launch its first crewed ship to space on July 20, aboard its suborbital space tourism rocket, New Shepard. The company announced on Wednesday that one seat aboard that flight will be auctioned off to support its Club for the Future Foundation.
Why this Matters: After much anticipation, space tourism is finally happening. Really.
Last week was so busy with what was happening on Earth, there was hardly time to talk about what happened in space. To start the week, NASA launched a helicopter (named Ingenuity) on Mars — it did not just roll like the Perserverence rover — it flew and that was an amazing first that would […]
A study published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the Earth’s axis, which shifts naturally, is now shifting 17 times faster than before 1981. Scientists use satellites that track gravity to assess “polar drift” and what they have discovered is that water is the greatest cause of the shifts. Even more unnerving […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.