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By Lillian Boyd
The Feb. 8-9 weekend is expected to see a phenomenon of an especially high tide event for the second time this year, and several agencies are asking the public to help document the event with photos and video.
While the “king tide” isn’t technically a scientific term, the California Coastal Commission refers to the phrase and phenomenon to illustrate and contextualize the potential impacts of sea level rise.
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, in a way that can offer insight on future effects of sea level rise. The previous king tide event was Jan. 10-12.
“By documenting and sharing photos and sharing what they notice, participants will help others understand that they’re part of a community that cares about climate change,” a CCC news release stated. “In addition, the images shared by the public are used by State and local officials as well as climate change researchers to validate sea level rise models and better assess local flood vulnerabilities.”
The content will also be available for educators, students, and the general public to explore flooding impacts on the shoreline and to visualize near-term climate change
For several decades, Surfrider Foundation has monitored development and coastal erosion along the shoreline. Stefanie Sekich-Quinn is the coastal preservation manager for the foundation’s Climate Change and Coastal Preservation Initiative.
“There’s been an uptick in extreme weather events, and we don’t see that getting any better,” Sekich-Quinn said. “When you have a king tide lapping up against a community, it can give you a bird’s-eye view of what we could need to do in the future to mitigate.”
The CCC is encouraging the public to document current flood risk in coastal areas through video and photos. For those who would like to participate in the commission’s King Tides project, use your smart phone to take and upload photos of king tides through the King Tides Photo Upload form at coastal.ca.gov/kingtides.
“The tides are going to be most noticeable in lower-lying areas, like a low-lying sidewalk,” said Sekich-Quinn. “If you can safely do so, take a picture of anything you think is striking . . . see how a wave goes up against infrastructure.”
The CCC cautions the public to be safe and take extra precautions when walking on slippery areas or near big waves. Do not turn your back on the ocean and be mindful of shore birds taking refuge in areas above the shoreline.
If you post your images to social media, the CCC will like and share photos with the hashtag #kingtides.
Ocean Institute will be leading a guided king tide tour on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8-9 at 10:30-11 a.m. Visit oceaninstitute.org to book a reservation. Admission is $5 per person and free for Ocean Institute members.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.