The power of the elements when they really get going really amazes me. We have to have respect the power of nature. It does not matter what technology or science we use, if nature wants to really take us on, it will win, hands down or buildings.
Hurricane Sandy is riproaring along the East Coast of USA. Lots of people have been instructed to abandon New York City and New Jersey. It has grounded flights, suspended public transport. It has already claimed lives and caused devastation when it swept accross the Caribbean last week but apparently it developed into a superstorm when it conjoined cold weather fronts from the west and north.
A hurricane gets its power from warm ocean waters, whereas extratropical systems are driven by contrasting temperatures in the atmosphere. There is cold air coming from South Canada which will collide with it and a wintry storm from the west. There are fears that there will be a foot of rain, high winds and up to two feet of snow.
The Full Moon is going to have an effect too. It draws the tides up under normal conditions but it will amplify the effects of the storm. The Full Moon means that the tides will be higher than usual, which will help the storm’s powerful winds to push water into low-lying areas.
Why does the Full Moon have this effect?
Diagram courtesy NOAA from National Geographic Daily News
During the time of the Full Moon, the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned which intensifies their gravitational pull on the planet. So planet is in a tug of war situation with both the Sun and Moon tugging at us. Being pulled like this causes a bulge in the sea that will make high tides higher than usual. Apparently these tides are known as spring tides pull can cause a bulge in the ocean that makes high tides a little higher than at other times of the month. These tides are known as “spring” tides, so-called because high because they spring up higher than normal.
The Earth and the Moon are drawn or attracted to each other, the Moon exerts a pull, saying come here and the Earth can keep a grip on everything except for water, because water is always on the move anyway which is why the tides move skywards. It is a battle for possession of the sea. The Moon pulls upwards and the Earth attempts to pull it downwards. When there is a Full Moon and also during a New Moon, both the Sun and Moon are pulling at us so the Earth has more to do, to keep hold of the ocean so spring tides are formed.
I also found out from 1o Amazing Moon facts that although the Moon is not successful at pulling our water away, it does, according to steal some of Earth’s rotational energy, about 1.5 milliseconds per century.
Here’s hoping that everyone affected will be safe.