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Supermoon: Tuvalu spared worst of king tides

Tuvalu has been spared so far from major flooding as the supermoon’s king tides have not been as high as feared.

However the small Pacific Island’s weather forecaster says tides are increasing in height over the years as sea levels rise.

The moon is making its closest approach (called a perigee), to the earth of the year, and as it is coinciding with this month’s full moon appears brighter and 14 percent larger.

The so-called supermoon has given photographers inspiration the world over, but has also brought about king tides.

Tide charts had warned of 3.15m high tides for the low-lying atoll of Tuvalu, however Tuvalu Meteorological Service scientific officer Tauala Katea said this morning’s high tide peaked at 2.9 metres.

While this was higher than regular high tides, it was lower than high tides in February and March which peaked at 3.2m.

“Still the low-lying areas around the island are inundated, but the coverage is less than the amount [in February and March],” Mr Katea said.

He said no evacuations had been required, and the inundation in low-lying and coastal areas had not affected the islands’ infrastructure.

The Metrological Service has forecast tides of 2.9m for 5.56pm today, and 3.1m for 6.14am tomorrow.

With rising sea levels threatening the atoll, king tides have been inundating increasingly more land.

“It is like a normal event for us now. From our experience, of all the years past, every king tide we get is getting higher and higher. The coverage of inundation is coming more inland.”

“It’s getting more inland and it is getting nearer to households. The highest king tide we had was in the year 2006, where we had a couple of families which had to be evacuated. That reading was 3.4m. That’s the highest ever.”

Mr Katea said the king tides have more of an impact when they coincide with strong winds. The highest king tides tend to be in March and February, he said.

– Homepage image / Yesterday’s big full moon, Jonathan Usher



Gary on 8/05/2012 12:03am

Changing the subject completely, it’s been very quiet on the earthquake front over the last few days. Only one or two per day above 5 for the entire planet

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