How the Moon ‘Wobble’ Affects Rising Tides


The Moon also revolves around the Earth once a month, and this orbit is slightly tilted. To be more precise, the Moon’s orbital plane around Earth is inclined by about five degrees to Earth’s orbital plane around the sun. (Here’s a couple videos for envision it.)

Because of this, the path of the moon’s orbit seems to fluctuate over time, completing a full cycle – sometimes called the nodal cycle – every 18.6 years. “This is happening on a very slow scale,” said co-author Benjamin D. Hamlington of the paper, who leads the Sea Level Change Team at NASA. “I think ‘precession’ is a more specific word than wobble.”

At certain points along the cycle, the moon’s gravity comes from such an angle that it pulls one of the day’s two high tides slightly higher at the expense of the other. This doesn’t mean that the moon itself is rocking or that gravity has to pull our oceans more or less than normal.

Dr. “The emphasis on the node loop is a little different from the message we’re trying to convey,” Hamlington said. But he added that the phenomenon is worth paying attention to.

High tide flooding linked to climate change expected to break records with increasing frequency over the next decade and have to work with people who want to accurately predict that risk. very noisy dataincluding weather patterns, astronomical events, and regional tidal changes.

The shaking of the moon is part of this noise, but it has always maintained its own slow, steady rhythm.

“As sea levels rise, it moves in the background,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research fellow in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami.

“In its fastest uptrend, it moves to raise the active sea level, and in its fastest down phase, it moves to suppress the active sea level, as we are now,” McNoldy said. wrote about the lunar node cycle but it was not part of the Nature study. “Sea level rise is not part of the forecasts, because sea level rise is not; It’s just an oscillation.”


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