About the King Tides Project

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What are King Tides?

While the term "king tide" isn't a scientific term, it is used to describe an especially high tide event, when there is alignment of the gravitational pull between sun and moon. When king tides occur during floods or storms, water levels can rise higher and have the potential to cause great damage to the coastline and coastal property.

King Tides:

  • occur naturally and regularly,
  • are predictable and expected, and
  • are not an everyday occurrence.

Climate change, sea level rise, and king tides

Increases in global sea levels have been recorded by tide gauges since the late 1800s, and more recent observations have been collected by NASA satellites. The steady rise in sea levels has been attributed to both a warming expansion of the oceans and contributions from melting glaciers and ice sheets. These changes are caused by increasing global temperatures resulting from people burning fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Climate modeling combined with these direct observations suggest sea level rise will continue well into the future with significant implications for California's coastal communities. During extreme high tide events, we can get an idea of what a permanent rise in sea level might look like in our communities. Learn more about sea level rise.

How are King Tides photos used?

King Tides photos help:

  • document current flood risk in coastal areas,
  • visualize the impacts of future sea level rise in a community,
  • ground-truth and validate climate change models by comparing model predictions with the high-tide reality,
  • serve as a living record of change for future generations.

Photos may be used in presentations, exhibitions, websites and publications on sea level rise impacts, coastal initiatives and climate action. Photos may also be used by government agencies for research and planning to assess where the coastline is most vulnerable, and by scientists to better predict future sea level rise.

Who is the California King Tides Project?

The California King Tides Project was launched in the winter of 2010/2011 by a partnership of state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations. The California project is now part of a global network of King Tides initiatives along both coasts of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia. In California, partners include the California Coastal Commission, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, Coravai LLC, California Coastkeeper, Humboldt Baykeeper, California State Parks, USC SeaGrant, San Mateo County, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation, The Exploratorium, among others.

For King Tides media inquiries, please contact Marina Psaros at (857) 523-0703 or marina@coravai.com

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