Jul 14, 2021 - News

The Moon's wobble could worsen Tampa Bay's tides as the climate heats up

Photo: Getty Images

Ever noticed the Moon's wobble? If so, what you're seeing is its tilt, velocity and shape of its orbit. The full cycle takes 18.6 years.

  • Half that time, the Moon is suppressing tides, thank goodness. But the other half, it's making them higher.

State of play: The Moon is currently in the "tide-amplifying part of its cycle," according to NASA.

  • But by the mid-2030s, when this intensified series returns and sea levels are higher due to warming, people living in coastal cities may be dealing with severe floods "every day or two."

Why it matters: That's us. And that's only about a decade away.

  • Planners need to start considering this new information now. A business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater. Routinely flooded roads will cause traffic delays and job losses. And stagnant cesspools could become public health issues.

By the numbers: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported a total of more than 600 "nuisance" or "sunny day" floods in 2019.

  • Starting in the mid-2030s, however, the lunar cycle will prompt "dramatic increases in flood numbers," according to the first study of this kind.

The bottom line: "The dangerous cocktail is predicted to spark increased high-tide flooding over a short period of time, creating extreme months of activity," reports Katie Camero for McClatchy.


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