California King Tides

kingtideWhat are King Tides?

King Tides, very simply, are the biggest tides of the year. They occur when the sun and moon exert gravity on the earth in such a way that tidal motion is maximized. During these days we experience the highest high tides and the lowest low tides of the year. King Tides in California often coincide with winter storms causing water levels to rise even higher! Although King Tides are not created by climate change, the dramatic tides can give us a window into the future of how rising sea levels might affect our coasts.

This season, King Tides will occur on:

December 30-31, 2013

January 1-2, 2014

January 29-31, 2014

The link between King Tides and climate change

One of the biggest predicted impacts of climate change is a rise in sea levels. Increase in sea levels have been observed by NOAA for many years and more recent changes have been observed by NASA satellites. If these trends continue as predicted, it means big problems for us living on the California coast. We can get an idea of what permanent sea level rise may look like by observing the extreme tidal events of King Tides. This information can help scientists and city planners be better prepared by seeing how temporarily increased sea levels affect their communities.

What is the King Tides Photo Initiative?

The King Tides Photo Initiative is an opportunity for people to share what they are seeing in their own communities during King Tides. Photos documenting the King Tides impacts to private property, public infrastructure and wildlife habitat from all over California are shared via Flickr PLEASE PARTICIPATE! The goals of this initiative are to:

  • Engage Californians in a conversation about the future of our beloved coastal areas
  • Identify and catalog coastal areas that are currently vulnerable to tidal inundation
  • Build an online resource of images that can be used by everyone- be that artists, high school students, public servants, non-profit organizations, scientists- to communicate about coastal hazards

Learn how to share your California King Tides photos here!

Please be safe and take proper precautions while taking photos. Be aware of big waves, slippery rocks and weather conditions.

– Amanda Gruen, Marine Protected Areas Outreach Coordinator




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