King Tides (also known as perigean spring tides) are extreme high tide events that occur when the sun and moon’s gravitation forces reinforce one another at times of the year when the moon is closest to the earth. They happen twice a year, but are typically more dramatic during the winter.
While tides are not affected by climate change, the climate and weather do influence coastal sea levels through storm surges, the ENSO and PDO cycles, and other factors. Storms that occur during high tides can cause coastal flooding and erosion, a risk that will increase with sea level rise. King Tides offer us a chance to visualize what normal sea levels may look like in the future. >The King Tide Photo Initiative captured images of coastlines around the world where infrastructure and ecosystems are vulnerable to flooding due to the rise in sea level.
From 2009 to 2015, the yearly King Tides Photo Initiative invited British Columbians to capture images of coastal areas affected by exceptional tides. Submissions documented areas such as beaches, roads, parks and estuaries that are known to be subject to flooding and erosion, or areas where the high water levels can be gauged against familiar land marks, such as sea walls, jetties, bridge supports, dikes, buildings or other coastal infrastructure. Photos were collected in Flickr and Facebook, and helped to document how rising sea levels may affect our coast in the future.
From winter 2009-2010 to winter 2014-2015
Over six years, the King Tides Photo Initiative received 402 email submissions from 27 participants, and 629 additional submissions were uploaded by a community of 83 members in the Flickr King Tides group. As of 2013, the conversation shifted mainly to Twitter and Instagram, where British Columbians continue to post photos of King Tides through #KingTidesBC and #KingTides.
Input leads to action:
By participating in the King Tides Photo Initiative, citizens helped:
- Raise awareness about climate change through direct citizen engagement and user-generated content;
- Identify and catalogue coastal areas currently vulnerable to tidal inundation;
- Gather compelling graphics and pictures, so we can promote awareness of the specific potential impacts of sea level rise on the British Columbia coast; and
- Generate support for climate change mitigation and adaptation.