Grab your cameras and hit the beaches!Washington is joining other West Coast states and provinces by asking citizens to document upcoming extreme high tides — or “king tides” — in January and February.
These naturally-occurring extreme tidal events give us the ability to better understand and visualize the potential impacts of coastal flooding.
Window on sea level riseFrom California to British Columbia, individuals will share their king tide photographs to help us all visualize how ongoing higher sea levels may alter our coastal communities.
King tides are a natural phenomenon that happen once or twice a year when the gravitational pull by our sun and moon reinforce one another. While king tides are not caused by climate change, they do give us a pretty dramatic glimpse into what impacts sea level rise may have on Puget Sound and our outer coast.
Point, shoot, upload and tagIn Washington, individuals are encouraged to submit their photos of the extreme high tides to the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr page. For information about high tides in your area, instructions on how to submit your photos to the Flickr page, or more detailed information about king tides and climate change, see Ecology’s king tides website.
Sea level rise happening at an accelerated rateSince the Industrial Revolution, sea levels around the globe have risen about eight inches. We anticipate levels are going to keep rising at an accelerating pace. The rise is due largely to ocean warming combined with melting glaciers and land-based ice sheets.
Using a mid-range estimate, a study by Ecology and the University of Washington projects that sea level will increase 13 inches by 2100 in Puget Sound and 11 inches on Washington’s central and southern coasts. Sea level rise of this magnitude is expected to increase coastal flooding and coastal erosion, which threatens Washington’s coastal communities.
Understanding impacts first step toward preparationUnderstanding the impacts of sea level rise is a priority for the Department of Ecology. By documenting the possible impacts of sea level rise, we can more clearly understand what current and future generations can expect along Washington’s more than 3,000 miles of tidal coastline.
To learn more about the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative: