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Nasa says Moon’s ‘wobble’ will cause devastating floods: Here’s what it means

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A NEW study conducted by space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has found a ‘wobble’ in Moon’s orbit along with rising sea levels will lead to devastating floods in the 2030s. Referring to the natural calamity as ‘nuisance floods’, the study said the events would become more frequent and erratic and the US coastline will majorly face the brunt of it.

Regarding the impact of the Moon on flooding on Earth, the study’s lead author Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, said that the ‘wobble’ in the Moon’s orbit takes 18.6 years to complete. Here’s all we need to know about the Moon’s wobble:

– While the ‘wobble’ has always been there, what makes it dangerous is that it will combine with the rising sea levels due to the planet’s warming, said Thompson.

– This cycle is expected to occur in mid-2030s, and coupled with the rising sea level, could lead to more such devastating floods.

– According to the Nasa’s website, when the Moon makes its elliptical orbit, its velocity varies and alters causing our perspective of the “light side” to appear at slightly different angles. This is what it calls the Moon’s wobble or that is how it appears to our eyes.

– Nasa says that while a casual glance skyward would not reveal this, when a full month of lunar views gets compressed into 12 seconds, it is impossible to miss.

– During half of the Moon’s orbit of 18.6 years, the Earth’s regular tides are suppressed — high tides are lower than normal and low tides higher than normal. In the other half, the effect is reversed, which is called the tide-amplifying phase of the Moon.


A beautiful moon on a balmy evening. Photo: Waqas Anees (CC BY 2.0)

TNR staff
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