The King Tides Are Coming!


How to help researchers peer into a future of rising sea levels by contributing photos to the California King Tides Project Dec. 21-23, 2014.

by Hilltromper staff

Dec. 16, 2014—Every year it happens three times, usually in December, January and February: extraordinarily high (and therefore extraordinarily low) tides. We call them King Tides, and here in Santa Cruz, it's become a favorite winter pastime to take a stroll down West Cliff or East Cliff under a moody winter sky and see the treasures the low tide has exposed—and later to marvel at the height of the waves against the bluffs.

This last bit—the height of those waves—is what interests the California King Tides Project. A citizen science initiative created with the goal of mapping our future shoreline, the CKTP asks regular camera-toting people to snap photos during high tide. The idea is to slowly assemble a picture of what the state's beaches will look like as the oceans rise due to climate change, as thousands of scientists agree they will. Then you share those photos via Flickr, Facebook or Twitter (instructions below), and voila—you could be helping future Californians not drown.

The first King Tide of the winter happens Sunday through Tuesday, Dec. 21-23, 2014, followed by Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 17-19. Want to help? Here are some guidelines:

1. When framing your photos, try to get recognizable landmarks (like wharves, boardwalks, staircases, etc) in the frame for reference.

2. Note time, date, location and orientation of your photos so you can include that information if you're uploading to Flickr.

3. Go at peak tide. Here are times for two Santa Cruz County locations.

In Santa Cruz (near Municipal Wharf)
Dec. 21 -- 6.13 ft, 8:51 am
Dec. 22 -- 6.19 ft, 9:34 am
Dec. 23 -- 6.1ft, 10:19am

Elkhorn Slough at the Railroad Bridge
Dec. 21 -- 6.53 ft, 9:33am
Dec. 22 -- 6.58 ft, 10:15am
Dec. 23 -- 6.47ft, 11:00am

4. Share your pics! For information on how, visit California King Tides Project's Share-Pictures page.