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Moon’s Wobble Effect

Moon’s Wobble Effect

Why in news?

  • Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has highlighted Moon’s Wobble as a potential problem in the near future.

Key Finding of Study

  • The study aimed to untangle all of those variables in an effort to improve predictions about the future of floods.
  • Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions are not the only cause of higher flood risks and the interplay of many variables that push and pull at ocean levels is also responsible.
  • The study warned the wobble to heighten high tides in the middle of the 2030s, but it also showed that this prediction does not apply uniformly to every coastline everywhere.

What is the Moon’s Wobble?

  • 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.
  • It is a cyclical shift in the moon’s orbit, it is a regular swaying (Oscillation) in the moon’s orbit.
  • It was first documented way back in 1728. This wobble takes over an 18.6-year period to complete. It acts as a background of sea level rise.


  • The high tides are caused mostly by the pull of the moon’s gravity on a spinning Earth and on most beaches, causing two high tides every 24 hours.
  • The moon also revolves around the Earth about once a month, and that orbit is a little bit tilted.
  • The path of the moon’s orbit seems to fluctuate over time, completing a full cycle (referred to as a nodal cycle) every 18.6 years.
  • At certain points along the cycle, the moon’s gravitational pull comes from such an angle that it yanks one of the day’s two high tides a little bit higher, at the expense of the other.
  • It does not mean that the moon itself is wobbling, nor that its gravity is necessarily pulling at our oceans any more or less than usual.
  • The high tide flooding related to climate change is expected to break records with increasing frequency over the next decade.              Moon’s Wobble Effect

What is the Impact of Wobble on Earth?

  • The moon wobble impacts the gravitational pull of the moon, and therefore, indirectly influences the ebb and flow of tides on the Earth.
  • Each wobble cycle has the power to amplify and suppress the tides on Earth.
  • During half of the Moon’s orbit of 18.6 years, the Earth’s regular tides are suppressed i.e. high tides are lower than normal and low tides higher than normal (Current situation).
  • In the other half, the effect is reversed, which is called the tide-amplifying phase of the Moon.


  • Tides can be defined as the alternate rise and fall of the ocean water.
  • It is caused by the combined effects of the gravitational force exerted on Earth by the Sun, the gravitational force exerted on Earth by the Moon and rotation of the Earth.        Moon’s Wobble Effect

Types of tides

  • Spring Tide: It occurs during the full moon and new moon days when the sun, the moon and the earth are in the same line twice each lunar month all year long, without regard to the season.
  • Neap Tide: It occurs when the moon is in its first and last quarter, the ocean waters get drawn in diagonally opposite directions by the gravitational pull of sun and earth resulting in low tides.

Stages of Tidal Changes

  • High tide is the stage when the tidal crest arrives at a particular location on shore, raising the local sea level.
  • Low tide is the stage when the trough arrives, lowering the local sea level.
  • Flood tide is a rising or incoming tide between low tide and high tide.
  • Ebb tide is a falling or outgoing tide between high tide and low tide.
  • The vertical distance between high tide and low tide is the tidal range.


  • Tides affect other aspects of oceanic life, including the reproductive activities of fish and ocean plants.
  • High tides help in navigation. They raise the water level close to the shores which helps the ships to arrive at the harbour more easily.
  • Tides stirr the ocean water that makes habitable climatic conditions and balance the temperatures on the planets.                      Moon’s Wobble Effect
  • The fast movement of water during the inflow and outflow will provide a source of renewable energy to communities living along the coast.


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