Author: Eric Malikyte
Tides on Earth are generated thanks to the moon’s gravitational tug on the Earth’s oceans, causing a bulge. But that’s a bit of an over-simplification.
Orbiting bodies revolve around something called a barycenter, which is basically the center of mass between two or more bodies. So, for the moon and Earth, they actually orbit each other.
And along with the moon’s cycles, it also has what’s known as a cyclic wobble. And that wobble takes 18.6 years to complete. New data seems to indicate that this will have a dramatic effect on the Earth’s tides in the mid-2030s, which could be particularly hazardous for coastal communities.
Moon Wobble and 2030 Tidal Disaster?
As we said in the intro, during the mid-2030s, U.S. coastlines will be forced to deal with the reality of increased flooding in coastal communities.
And it’s all thanks to the moon’s natural wobble which takes 18.6 years to complete. During half of this cycle, the moon’s effect on tides is reduced, meaning that ocean tides aren’t as extreme. While the moon’s gravitational pull helps produce the Earth’s tides, it’s not the only mechanism at play.
Chiefly, you’ll notice that in these images representing the mechanics of tides, high tide isn’t only on the side of the Earth facing the moon, but on the other side as well.
The Earth and Moon orbit each other, as we explained in the intro, which means that the Earth and moon are being swung around from this point, known as the barycenter.
This is similar to the effect of swinging a bucket of water around with your arm. The water stays in the bucket because of something known as centripetal and centrifugal force. Those of you who are big scifi nerds will recognize this effect as it’s been used in movies and books like The Martian, where centripetal force is used in a spinning part of a spaceship that rotates on an axis, which generates artificial gravity through centrifugal force.
The Earth experiences something similar when swinging around this barycenter. And that’s why high tide is both between the Earth and Moon and on the opposite side as well.
Thanks to rising sea levels, the latter half of this cycle will see tidal extremes to be amplified, and as you can imagine that’s going to cause some issues for coastal communities.
NASA team leader and one of the study’s authors, Ben Hamlington, told Reuters, “In the background, we have long-term sea level rise associated with global warming. It’s causing sea level increase everywhere. This effect from the moon causes the tides to vary, so what we found is that this effect lines up with the underlying sea level rise, and that will cause flooding specifically in that time period from 2030 to 2040.”
Someone once commented on another climate change video I ran on the channel, stating that there was zero sea level rise and then after I refuted that with data directly from NASA they commented, exasperated, “you tryin to push TWO CENTIMETERS as sea level rise? it is almost nothing. absolutely not worth crying about and nasa lies.”
No, it’s not two centimeters. According to satellite data taken from 1995 to 2020, the sea rose 3.3 millimeters per year, resulting in nearly reaching 100 millimeters by 2020. Convert to centimeters and you actually get 10 centimeters.
Even if it were 2 centimeters, though, that would still be significant. And that’s because our planet is mostly water, and far larger than you seem to be able to comprehend.
The diameter of the Earth is 12,742 kilometers. So if oceans globally rise two centimeters that would make for a massive increase in mass being redistributed into the oceans. Since we know that it’s actually much worse than that, that makes this a much bigger deal.
In any case, back to the study. The researchers involved with it analyzed 89 tide gauge locations in every U.S. state with coastal locations.
This tidal amplification would likely apply to the entire planet’s coastal cities, save for places like Alaska.
And speaking of Alaska, anyone trying to deny climate change should ask an Inuit how they feel about what we’ve done to the environment.
The Innuit and the Changes to the Arctic
For 30 years, the Inuit of Baffin Island have had a deep respect for the natural environment that they depend on to survive. They’re experts at adapting to changes in that environment, and as a result of that inherent skill, they have been able to sound off about the major changes happening to the ice, important resources, the weather, as well as the effect that these changes have had on their communities.
The Inuit continue to see themselves as cohabitating with the rest of the world (if only the rest of the world agreed), they have a deep understanding of their environment and are extremely sensitive to changes to it. Many Inuit tribes rely on fishing and whaling to feed themselves.
Weather plays an important role in hunting and travel for them, so it’s significant that since the 1990s they’ve been reporting changes in the predictability of weather patterns. There is an anxiety, a feeling of insecurity when it comes to these changes, because they threaten the future of their culture.
Across the arctic, the Inuit report that that the sea ice is retreating and thinning.
Not only that, but because of this change in the sea ice, they’ve noticed a significant change in the quality of species available for hunting.
In the first half of the 20th century, it would have been virtually unheard of for the Inuit to buy food supplies at a market, but that’s changed in recent years. Now, market bought foods constitute over 70-80% of their entire diet.
But the ability to hunt and fish being affected by climate change has also resulted in many communities having to relocate and develop a market-based economy as well as introduce new technologies.
I’ve linked to the full article in the sources section. I encourage everyone watching this video to give it a read, because it may give you a new perspective on climate change.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
IMPENDING COASTAL DOOM!
Changing the Deadline
To put something in perspective, this study’s predictions have basically pushed up estimates for coastal flooding by 70 years!
That seems to be a big trend in climate science right now. And I feel like it’s a sign that we’re beginning to realize that our impact on the planet is far worse than we originally predicted.
Hamlington continued his comments to Reuters by saying, “This is eye-opening for a lot of people. It’s really critical information for planners. And I think there’s a great amount of interest in trying to get this information from science and scientists into the hands of planners. A building or particular piece of infrastructure, you may want to be there for a very long amount of time, whereas something else you may just want to protect or have access to for a few years.”
And this really highlights the dramatic shift in the past few years in what the science has been saying, effectively pushing the deadline back for when humanity needs to come together and fix this massive problem.
Back in 2018, climate scientists were predicting that if we didn’t reduce the global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, the consequences would effectively be permanent for the planet’s weather systems.
However, now a growing number of researchers are suggesting that we may have already passed the tipping point.
With extreme weather events like super heatwaves, mega blizzards, and powerful hurricanes becoming more and more common (like the Pacific Northwest heatwave that we talked about recently, linked in the description) it’s hard not to wonder if this might actually be the case.
Remember that freak blizzard in Texas earlier this year? It hit communities throughout the state hard, causing many people to lose power, and consequently heating while temperatures plummeted.
Homes in Texas aren’t built to handle freezing temperatures like they are on the East Coast and are designed with the heat in mind. To make matters worse, the electrical grid is actually isolated from the rest of the country, which left them completely unprepared for the demand that many of their power plants were unable to handle. Couple that with a lack weather treatment for cold weather environments across much of that electrical grid and you got a recipe for disaster. Many households were left waiting to thaw during the storm.
Florida and many of the communities along the Gulf of Mexico have been forced to deal with extreme weather as well.
Hurricane Harvey, back in August of 2017 was a category 4 storm that made landfall in Texas and Louisiana, causing catastrophic flooding and more than 100 deaths (hmm, sounds familiar) and inflicting 125 billion dollars’ worth of infrastructure damage.
All of this is suggesting to some scientists that we’ve already crossed the tipping point and that reversing the damage to the climate is now impossible.
But many of them are a bit late to the party, as one scientist in particular has been sounding the alarm since the mid-1960s.
Enjoy Life While You Can?
Back in the 1960s, the suits at Shell wanted to know how the world would look by the far-off year of 2000. Would we have flying cars and cities on the moon and Mars? They consulted many experts on the subject, the majority of which speculated about fusion-powered technologies that would revolutionize the way we live our lives.
But when they asked scientist James Lovelock, they got a very different answer. One that they really, really didn’t like.
Lovelock predicted that the main problem facing the world in the year 2000 would be the environment, that it would be so severe that it would begin affecting their business.
Now, Lovelock believes that 43 years later, that is almost exactly what happened.
Lovelock has been dropping climate change predictions from a one-man laboratory housed within an old mill in Cornwall since that time, and he’s been consistently accurate too.
He’s one of Britain’s most respected independent scientists, even if he is a bit of a maverick.
In his 40s he invented a device that detected CFCs (or Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine), which helped analyze the giant hole in the ozone layer.
He is also the scientist who introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a theory that suggests that Earth is a self-regulating super-organism that was initially rebuffed by many scientists (mainly cause they thought it sounded like new age bunk).
Today though, the Gaia hypothesis forms the basis of almost all climate science.
Lovelock also advocated for switching to nuclear power, catching the ire of environmentalists. Recently, though, a campaign to change the general public’s perceptions of nuclear power has been spearheaded by none other than environmentalists.
So, when Lovelock tells you that you should enjoy life while you can, maybe listen.
Lovelock suggested in his 2008 book, The Revenge of Gaia, that by 2040 much of Europe will be like the Saharan desert and parts of London will be underwater.
The 2008 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) used less apocalyptic language, but their predictions weren’t too far off, all things considered.
The insane thing about Lovelock’s 2008 prediction is how relevant it is to today. Because he didn’t just predict what things might be like in 2040, but also what they’d be like in 2020.
He suggested back then that extreme weather would be the norm, leading to global devastation…and frankly, it’s alarming how accurate that prediction actually was.
So, do we only have 20 years before London is underwater?
Well, Lovelock in 2020 had some chilling things to say, suggesting that the biosphere (like himself) had now entered the last 1% of its lifecycle.
Time will tell if he is again right.
In 2008, Lovelock said that we needed to focus on developing new technologies and focus on preparing for the inevitable, and I think it’s safe to say that we paid the price for not listening. Now I’m wondering if we’ll see the flooding of London during the second half of this Lunar wobble cycle.
I know today’s subject took a bleak turn, but if you dug the content, do leave me a like and comment down below your thoughts on the study.