The Moon affects the Earth's climate - Deepstash
The Moon affects the Earth's climate

The Moon affects the Earth's climate

The most obvious effect can be seen in the ocean tides. The Earth's rotation causes the Moon's gravity to pull the water on the closest side of Earth towards it, creating a bulge. The centrifugal force caused by the Earth's rotation makes the sea bulge on the other side too. These bulges of water are high tides.

Every 18.6 years, there is a lunar nodal cycle, where the lunar plane tilts away from the equatorial plane, causing tides to grow smaller. When the Moon's orbit is more in line with the Earth equator, the tides are bigger.

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Tides influence the movement of ocean currents. Warm ocean currents bring warmer, wetter weather, while cold currents bring colder, drier weather.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso) may be affected by the lunar nodal cycle too. Usually, strong winds along the equator blow warm surface water westward from South America towards Indonesia. During an El Niño event, these winds are reduced or even reversed and can affect weather worldwide. Usually, wet regions may experience drought, while dry areas may experience rain. A La Niña event will have the opposite effect.

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Excessive flooding pose a danger

According to Nasa, the rising sea levels combined with the influence of the nodal cycle can increase the number of high tide floods in the 2030s.

These floods could damage infrastructure and change coastlines. In addition, it could be an existential threat to wildlife in coastal ecosystems.

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The Moons effect on ice, land and air
  • The Moon affects polar temperatures on a monthly cycle. Satellite measurements have shown that poles are 0.55C warmer during a full Moon.
  • The Moon creates tidal currents and waves in the ocean that can either melt or break up sea ice.
  • Atmospheric tides cause changes in atmospheric pressure. These changes are linked with higher air temperatures, which means the air molecules can hold more moisture.

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The Influence of the Moon

There are three ways as to how the moon can affect life on earth:

  • Time
  • Tide
  • Light

The moon has been embedded in many life cycles of many organisms. It has been there ever since the evolution has been taking place, even far longer than that.

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Entertaining the idea of a still-standing earth

The assumption that the Earth can stop spinning is far-fetched. But, what if something changed the Earth's rotation? Let's assume the Earth stopped spinning gradually.

And let's suppose that Earth's ecosystems have survived the transition. What would the new world look like?

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Theories on how the Moon formed

Before the Apollo mission research, there were three theories about how the Moon formed.

  1. Capture theory suggests that the Moon was a wandering body that was captured by Earth's gravity as it passed nearby.
  2. Accretion theory suggests that the Moon was created along with Earth at its formation.
  3. The fission scenario proposes that the Earth spun so fast that some material broke away and began to orbit the planet.

Today, the giant-impact theory is widely accepted. It proposes that Earth and a small planet collided. The debris from this impact collected in orbit around Earth to form the Moon.

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