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Tonight’s full Moon rising over Sarasota reminds me of the upcoming Moon ‘wobble’ that will occur in the 2030s.

Full Moon captured in Sarasota by Damon Powers Photography on April 23, 2024.

The term Moon ‘wobble’ refers to the Moon’s natural, slightly elliptical orbit that happens every 18.6 years.
This Moon ‘wobble’ is simply the fluctuation in the Moon’s orbit – occurring as a result of changes in the moon’s elliptical orbit and the resulting variation in the gravitational pull on the Earth. In this orbit, the apogee (furthest from Earth) and the perigee (closest to Earth) differ by more than 10 percent.
So the first half of the 18.6-year lunar cycle counteracts the effect of sea-level rise on high tides, and the second half increases the effect. In the mid 2030s, it will amplify high tides and lower low tides.
The Moon ‘wobble’ is nothing new. It was first reported in 1728. However, this amplification, combined with rising sea levels due to climate change, could lead to increased instances of coastal flooding.
NOAA reported more than 600 such floods in 2019. Scientists are expecting three to four times that amount in the mid-2030s, after sea-level rise has another decade to progress.
The CAC is committed to working with local decision makers to ensure that our coastal communities have proper infrastructure and are ready!
Become a member of the Climate Adaptation Center or make a donation and you will help support us in protecting our communities against our warming climate and rising sea levels. Flooding is expected to significantly damage coastal communities and their infrastructure and potentially displace millions of people.
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