Sophie Lewis – CBS News
Every coast in the U.S. is facing rapidly increasing high tide floods thanks to a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels.
A new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii, published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that upcoming changes in the moon’s orbit could lead to record flooding on Earth in the next decade.
Through mapping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sea-level rise scenarios, flooding thresholds and astronomical cycles, researchers found flooding in American coastal cities could be several multiples worse in the 2030s when the next moon “wobble” is expected to begin. They expect the flooding to significantly damage infrastructure and displace communities.
While the study highlights the dire situation facing coastal cities, the lunar wobble is actually a natural occurrence, first reported in 1728. The moon’s orbit is responsible for periods of both higher and lower tides about every 18.6 years, and they aren’t dangerous in their own right.
“In half of the Moon’s 18.6-year cycle, Earth’s regular daily tides are suppressed: High tides are lower than normal, and low tides are higher than normal,” NASA explains. “In the other half of the cycle, tides are amplified: High tides get higher, and low tides get lower. Global sea-level rise pushes high tides in only one direction – higher. So, half of the 18.6-year lunar cycle counteracts the effect of sea-level rise on high tides, and the other half increases the effect.”
But this time around, scientists are more concerned. With sea-level rise due to climate change, the next high tide floods are expected to be more intense and more frequent than ever before, exacerbating already grim predictions.
In 2019, NOAA reported more than 600 such floods. Scientists expect three to four times that amount in the mid-2030s after sea-level rise has another decade to progress.
According to the study, these floods will exceed flooding thresholds around the country more often, and can also occur in clusters lasting more than a month, depending on the positions of the moon, Earth and sun. During certain alignments, floods could happen as frequently as every day or every other day.
“Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it will only get worse,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull, rising sea levels, and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding on our coastlines and across the world.”
Almost all U.S. mainland coastlines, Hawaii and Guam are expected to face these effects. Sea-level rise is already expected to make hundreds of thousands of square miles of coastline uninhabitable and potentially displace over 100 million people worldwide by the end of the century.
Researchers are hoping their findings will lead to more dedicated efforts to prevent as much damage as possible, both to the environment and people’s livelihoods, before it’s too late. While high tide floods don’t involve as large an amount of water as hurricanes, the real danger lies in their frequency.
“It’s the accumulated effect over time that will have an impact,” said lead author Phil Thompson. “If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater. People lose their jobs because they can’t get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue.”
banner image: Bdelisle – Wikipedia
Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2: Live updates – Space.com
The CST-100 Starliner capsule has passed its flight readiness review (FRR) for the upcoming liftoff, which will kick off the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission to the station, NASA and Boeing representatives announced today (July 22). Read the full story here.
Over the weekend, engineers mated the Starliner spacecraft to its Atlas V rocket, marking a key milestone ahead of the mission’s launch next week. See the photos here.
NASA hands SpaceX contract for first mission to Jupiter's moon Europa – Fox Business
NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Southern California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has awarded SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) with the launch services contract for the Earth’s first mission to conduct detailed investigations of Europa.
The “Europa Clipper” mission is set for October 2024 and NASA said in a Friday release that the spacecraft will launch on a Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The contract award is approximately $178 million dollars.
The world – discovered first by famed astronomer Galileo Galilei – shows strong evidence for an ocean of salty water beneath the planet’s crust, thought to contain twice as much water as Earth’s oceans combined.
NASA believes that the moon’s ice shell is around 10 to 15 miles thick and its internal ocean is estimated to be around 40 to 100 miles deep.
The mission will send Europa Clipper to orbit around Jupiter to perform close flybys of Europa on an elliptical path. The orbiter’s suite of science instruments will help to measure the ocean’s depth and salinity and the thickness of its icy shell, map surface geology and composition, search for plumes of water vapor that could be emitted from Europa’s crust and subsurface lakes and produce high-resolution images of its surface.
JPL notes that understanding Europa habitability will help astrobiologists to better understand how life developed on Earth approximately 382 million miles away, in addition to efforts to find life beyond the blue marble.
While JPL leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, NASA’s Kennedy-based Launch Services Program will manage the Europa Clipper launch service.
Additionally, the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will orchestrate program management of the Europa Clipper mission.
Buck Moon rises over Oshawa harbour – insauga.com
July’s orange- or yellow-tinted full moon – known as a Buck Moon – arrived at 10:36 p.m. Friday night.
It’s called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer are in full-growth mode at this time.
Indigenous people of Canada have several other names for the phenomenon, including Berry Moon (Anishinabe), Feather Moulting Moon (Cree), Salmon Moon, (Tlingit) and Raspberry Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe).
The full moon can be viewed in all its glory until tomorrow night.
Photo: Colin Ryan
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