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Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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‘King tides’ are an invitation to take watery photos

December 27th, 2011 by cdunagan

The Washington King Tide Initiative is entering its third year, and state officials would like people to shoot photographs of flooded roads, yards and buildings — if such events occur.

The high tide at the mouth of Gorst Creek comes close to reaching Toys Topless in Gorst. Photo by Meegan M. Reid, Kitsap Sun

In 2010, the high tide at the mouth of Gorst Creek comes close to reaching Toys Topless at the head of Sinclair Inlet in Gorst.
Photo by Meegan M. Reid, Kitsap Sun

High tides are expected to continue for the next few days and return to high levels again in mid-January. Whether flooding occurs at any one place depends on rainfall, winds and atmospheric pressure, as well as tidal levels dictated by the position of the moon and sun. (See NOAA Ocean Service Education.)

Not much flooding occurred during king tides last year, but plenty of photographs were collected in early 2010. That’s when the picture on this page was taken in Gorst between Bremerton and Port Orchard. For additional photos, check out the Flickr page or the video slide show put together by the Washington Department of Ecology.

Taking note of these high tides is one way to gauge how climate change may affect shoreline areas. Over the next 100 years, sea level is expected to rise by at least 2.6 feet, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although previous estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were in the range of 7 inches to 2 feet.

The King Tide Initiative started in Australia in 2009, according to Ecology’s website on King Tides, but it soon became a project for the West Coast of North America, with Washington and British Columbia joining in 2010 and Oregon and California joining in 2011.

Visit Flickr pages for British Columbia, Oregon and California, which includes regional pages for San Francisco Bay, Santa Monica and San Diego.

For a list of high tides, go to Ecology’s King Tide Schedule page and click on the map. More precise information can be found on NOAA’s page of tide predictions, where you can zoom in to your area of interest.

For past King Tide events, check out my Water Ways entries for Jan. 21, 2011 and Feb. 1, 2010.

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2 Responses to “‘King tides’ are an invitation to take watery photos”

  1. Nels Sultan Says:

    Sea levels in Seattle have increased at a steady rate of 0.68 feet per 100 years, based on historic measured tide gage data from NOAA. See this web site:
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9447130 Seattle, Puget Sound, WA

    There is no real basis for the claims that sea levels will rise by 2.6 feet or 7 feet, or more. Globally, sea level rise has NOT accelerated. As found and reported by many researchers who specialize in this, including the eminent professor Bob Dean and other coastal experts. See for example this web site:

    http://chl.erdc.usace.army.mil/dirs/events/319/01%2087th%20CERB%20Dean.pdf

    Dean and Houston conclude the following:
    “We Are Becoming Increasingly Convinced that There has Been a Very Small Negative Acceleration in the U. S. Gages During the 20th Century”

    USFWS does not have any an expertise in sea level rise, and their alarmist claims are highly speculative and not supported by the NOAA tide gage data. Similarly, the IPCC panel is focused on atmospheric changes, not sea level rise. All these alarmist claims of sea level rise are based on dubious models, not real data.

  2. cdunagan Says:

    In response to Nels Sultan’s comment above, I contacted several climate experts and created a new Water Ways post on Jan. 4.

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