If you’ve watched the news lately, you may have heard about the recent study conducted by NASA and the University of Hawaii depicting changes to the Moon’s orbit predicted to happen as early as the 2030s. The phenomenon is called a ‘Wobbling Moon,’ which will impact flooding patterns across the world.
The Moon’s predicted wobble is nothing new to the Earth’s tides as it occurs every 18.6 years and was first reported in 1728. Scientists are now estimating that the next wobble will begin in the mid-2030s.
Although the wobbling Moon itself should not be extremely dangerous, an increase in flooding patterns on top of the ongoing climate crisis can have drastic consequences for humanity. Flooding patterns caused by changes to Earth’s tidal force and tide patterns can happen in clusters lasting up to a month. The dangers of this upcoming Moon’s wobble are the combination of high tides caused by the changes in the Moon’s gravitational pull and the already increasing sea levels due to climate change.
Scientists from NASA and the University of Hawaii closely studied 89 tide gauge locations on the United States’ coastlines to look at different sea-level scenarios and flooding patterns that are bound to occur until 2080. They reached the conclusion that the next decade may experience consistently high flooding patterns.
For years scientists have argued the harmful impact climate change will have on disappearing coastlines. Changes to tide patterns and flooding could accelerate the disappearance of coastlines and cities across the world.
How the Moon Affects the Earth
You may have learned in your science class that the Moon heavily influences tides on Earth. This is certainly true. The Moon’s gravitational pull causes a tidal force on Earth, which then impacts high and low tides.
A high tide occurs when the tidal force causes the water on Earth to bulge out on the side closest and farthest from the Moon, causing water levels to increase. A low tide occurs when the tidal force bulges in and water levels decrease. The following image shared by National Geographic illustrates how the Moon affects the planet’s bodies of water.
NASA states that the Moon is currently in the tide-amplifying part of its cycle. During this cycle, the United States’ coastlines and sea levels around the world did not rise much. In fact, high tides manifest themselves as regular flooding patterns. NASA predicts that the next cycle will manifest itself very differently, as the upcoming decade forecasts an increase in sea levels to be in place by the mid-2030s.
The Sun also plays its role in influencing tide patterns, but is not as significant as the Moon, since it is further away from Earth. The Moon is much closer and therefore has a stronger gravitational impact on Earth. National Geographic states that the Moon is 238,855 miles (384,399.9 kilometers) from Earth, while the Sun is 92.92 million miles (149.6 million kilometers) away.
What NASA’s Report Reveals to Us About the Future of Our Planet
The wobble to the Moon’s orbit will cause changes to the tidal force and flooding patterns on Earth. This will affect the planet entirely and everyone on it as sea levels are already on the rise and coastlines are slowly starting to disappear.
The phenomenon predicted to occur in the next decade will have a tremendous impact on our climate. Sea levels are increasing due to climate change, and high tide levels could be destructive. A drastic increase or decrease in sea levels will impact marine life, wildlife, and humans across the globe.
Nature Climate Change shared in a journal the devastation that could occur if coastlines disappear due to climate change. Sandy shores do not only hold densely populated areas that will force habitants to relocate if they submerge underwater, but they also have socio-economic value as they are attractive locations for tourism and play a significant role in the economic ecosystem of the area.
Not everyone will experience drastic changes in tides or flooding, though. Depending on your location in the world, and the Moon’s placement, you may experience the peak at neither high nor low tides. This does not mean that the difference in water patterns is not affecting others around the world and our resources to a livable planet.
How We Can Help
Although the wobbling Moon creates changes to the tidal force, it is not as devastating alone as it is combined with other factors influencing climate change. In order to prevent further damages caused by the ongoing climate crisis and coastal cities from disappearing due to extreme flooding and weather patterns, we must prevent climate change from worsening.
To have a livable planet for humans and every other living organism we must take action NOW! The next decade will be crucial in the progress we make to improve the health of our planet. We can all make simple, easy changes that can have a significant impact. By reducing greenhouse gasses, cutting our carbon footprint, embracing sustainability, recycling the world’s waste, and opting for renewable energy sources we can set the world back on track. There is no more waiting when tomorrow is not promised.
It is up to every individual to do their part to live in a more sustainable manner, purchase sustainably, and call out the big corporations that contribute the most to our dying environment. Demanding cleaner and ethically produced products with our dollars spent and minimizing our waste is a good place to start to rebuild our planet and reverse the accelerating climate crisis.