By Dan Haag
The second series of king tides, the highest high tides of the year, is coming up January 20-22, 2019. Residents and visitors to Oregon’s coast are invited to capture these high water events in photos. The Oregon King Tides Photo Project is part of a worldwide initiative; anyone with a camera can help document the extent of these extreme high tides, and help us catch a glimpse of what sea level rise will look like in our region. Everyone is welcome to participate, just pick a place, snap a photo at the highest point of that day’s tide cycle, and share it online. The third and final series of winter king tides this project will cover will be February 18-20, 2019.
This is the ninth year that Oregon has participated in this international citizen science effort. In Oregon, the project is sponsored by the Oregon Coastal Management Program, the CoastWatch Program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and local partners, including the Oregon Surfrider Foundation, Curry Watersheds Partnership, Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, Haystack Rock Awareness Program, and others. The Oregon Coastal Management Program, part of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, works in partnership with coastal local governments, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders to manage, conserve, and develop Oregon’s coastal and ocean resources.
While the term ‘king tide’ isn’t a scientific term, it describes a high tide event when the sun, moon, and earth are in alignment, causing greater than usual gravitational pull on the tides. When king tides occur during intense rain or storm events, the high water can cause flooding, erosion, and other impacts to infrastructure and property, as was seen in several locations during the December 2018 king tides series.
King Tide events give us the opportunity to peak into the future and see what the impacts of sea level rise could look like in our coastal communities. Even a small increase in sea levels could escalate the impacts of winter storms along the Oregon coast, intensify chronic hazards like erosion and flooding, and reduce the width of the public beach. Gaining a glimpse of tidal flooding likely to become common in the future will benefit planners, resource agencies, conservationists, and coastal citizens in preparing for these changes. Photographs from past years of the King Tides Project can be viewed on the project’s Flickr site, https://www.flickr.com/people/orkingtide/.
Help document these events for the King Tides Photo Project, January 20-22 and February 18-20, 2019. Helpful king tide photos show water levels adjacent to a fixed feature like a piling, seawall or bridge abutment. Including fixed features allows actual water levels to be documented and tracked over time. Good photos also must include the location, the date and time of the photo, and the viewer’s direction for each picture. Two photos taken from the same spot, one during peak king tide and the other at a typical high tide are also very effective in highlighting these high water events. Find tide tables for your area and instructions for how to take and upload photos on the King Tides website: www.oregonkingtides.net.
** Whenever you are on the Oregon Coast it is imperative that you keep an eye on the ocean at all times. Never put yourself in danger. Be very cautious of rising water, eroding shorelines, flooded roadways, and high winds during any extreme high tide events.**