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Coastal Commission seeks data on royal tides

SANTA MONICA, Calif .– The water in the ocean, said Laurene Von Klan, was fascinating. It was like watching the fingers of the ocean dance higher and higher on the shore than she used to see.

Von Klan, co-chair of Climate Action Santa Monica, recalled the last time she checked out the royal tides in her city, the inspiration for an observation event that CASM will host this weekend.

What would you like to know

  • California Coastal Commission’s King Tides Project is researching public photos and data to track growth of highest tides
  • Royal tides are the highest of high tides – predictable and regular occurrences – but they are often one to two feet higher than the normal rise in water levels.
  • California Coastal Commission tracks high tides to estimate impacts of sea level rise along coastal regions
  • The next high tides in California are expected on December 4 and 5 and early January

“It was both peaceful and a reminder that this ocean is powerful and will continue no matter what we do,” she said.

High tides are daily, the result of the simple movement of water according to the gravitational exchanges of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. Royal tides are high tides pushed to their extreme, often one to two feet higher than the typical high water mark.

They happen when gravitational alignments are right – they’re regular, they’re expected, and they’re predictable.

And while high tides aren’t that unusual, the California Coastal Commission notes that they can give researchers some idea of ​​what we might be experiencing as a result of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

On December 4 and 5, during this month’s Royal Tide events, the Coast Commission is asking Californians – like Von Klan and CASM – to submit photos to its King Tides Project photo gallery for inclusion in an interactive map. in line.

Government agencies, like Los Angeles County, are contributing to the project this weekend; employees will be heading to county beaches within 30 minutes of the day’s high tide to snap and share photos on both social media and the King Tides Project website.

Climate change is a growing concern on county beaches; The high waves have caused flooding on parking lots at Venice and Zuma beaches, and berms are regularly built to prevent such flooding and protect facilities on the narrower beaches.

For Von Klan, high tide days are as much about admiring the ocean as they are anticipating climate change.

“It’s a way for us to bring people together to feel connected and ruin the climate crisis. The anxiety that people experience, in some cases, makes them feel helpless, ”said Von Klan. “When they connect with other people and take root in their local environment, they don’t feel so helpless. ”

The adage that attracting more flies with honey rather than vinegar comes to mind, but that doesn’t mean the awkward truths will be dodged. One potential concern, she said, is the combination of high tides and winter storm surges causing even greater damage.

“There are houses that might need to be moved, roads – even major roads leading to highways – that could be flooded and closed intermittently,” Von Klan said. “When you look at the sea level rise in that context, it’s pretty scary. But we’re doing this more to enable people to connect and enjoy the ocean, and find a community to discuss what we can do about climate change. “

For more information on the King Tides Project, including events this weekend and in January, visit / kingtides.

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