Preparing for the effects of climate change is more than just preparing for the next extreme weather event, such as a hurricane, wildfire or heat wave. As glaciers and ice caps continue to melt, more heat is trapped in the ocean, causing the ocean to expand, and rising sea levels will exacerbate a more common problem faced by residents in coastal areas: so-called “sunny” floods.
Scientists have long warned that rising sea levels will bring high tides closer to buildings and roads and erode the coastline. But it’s not just climate change that makes this problem worse.A kind New research An article published by NASA scientists in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that in just over a decade, the stars will truly align, making tidal floods more frequent and more destructive.
Well, technically not a star. The research focuses on the regular fluctuations or “wobbles” of the moon’s orbit around the earth that occur in a period of 18.6 years. During this period, the angle between the moon’s orbit and the earth’s equator expanded and contracted, causing the moon’s gravitational pull on the ocean to change. During half of this cycle, the pull of the moon amplifies the tides of the earth, leading to higher tides and lower tides. Researchers have found that this moon swing effect will significantly increase the number of flood events.
Scientists already know that as sea levels rise, the number of tidal flood events has been increasing.Sunny flooding, that is, when the tide reaches about 2 feet higher than the daily average high tide, it has already Is more than twice as high as in 2000, According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study found that in the mid-2030s, when this high tide comes again and sea levels rise due to climate change, almost all the continental coastlines of the United States will experience a sharp increase in the number of sunny floods, and the effect lasts for about ten years. During that time, when the sun, the moon, and the earth were lined up like this, there might be floods in some areas for a month, and some cities had floods almost every day.
Rob Moore, director of the Water and Climate Group of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an email that the study “revealed some shocking new information that was not included in any official information on future sea-level rise and its impact. Coastal flooding events are predicted or predicted in the future. Every local and state official with a coastline should be deeply concerned about this.”
Although sunny floods are not the severe floods you see during hurricanes or heavy rains, they can be just as destructive in some ways. Philip Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and the lead author of the study, said in a statement: “If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, the company will not be able to continue operating if its parking lot is flooded.” “People lose their jobs because they can’t go to work. Leaking cesspools has become a public health problem.”
Moore said that the most important thing is that tropical storms or hurricanes may intersect with one of these sunny flood periods, which will have an impact on storm surge forecasts.
The rise of tidal floods will not hit all parts of the United States at the same time. Researchers predict that Hawaii, the Pacific coast, and the Gulf of Mexico will experience sunny floods in the mid-2030s, mid-2050s, and early 2070s, and the northern Atlantic coast until the mid-2040s and then the early 2060s.
“From a planning perspective, it is important to know when we will see an increase,” Ben Hamlinton, co-author of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. The expected increase in flooding will help coastal city planners weigh adaptation measures, such as heightening buildings, constructing seawalls, Nourish the beach, Redesign the sewage system, in some cases, Keep the community completely away from the coast.
“We are already far behind the sea level rise curve, and we already know that the curve is getting steeper and steeper,” Moore said. “I hope this will bring additional urgency to kick-start the nation’s efforts to prepare our communities.”