Royal Waves

Once or twice a year, the coastline experiences exceptionally high tides that have come to be known by their non-scientific name, King Tides. In recent years they’ve received more press thanks to the concern over climate change and impending sea level rise. King Tides have nothing to do with climate change, but the fact that they are one to two times higher than normal high tides does give us a glimpse of what a rising sea level might look like. King Tides are hitting our coastline Dec. 23-24 and Jan. 21-22, and you can take a turn as a citizen scientist for the California Coastal Commission by sharing photos of the high tides for the California King Tides Project. (Tag line: “Snap the Shore. See the Future.”) Make sure to stay safe while taking photos: Stay back and be aware of your surroundings. Low tides are also extraordinary opportunities to see what’s often covered by water. Asilomar State Beach is offering king tides tide pool tours on Dec. 22 and Dec. 25. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a king tide tour at Elkhorn Slough on Dec. 23. Reservations are required for all tours and space is limited. If you miss the tours this time around, reserve a spot for January tours. 

Dec. 23-24, up and down the coast. Free. Asilomar State Beach tour reservations: asilomar.interp@parks.ca.gov. Department of Fish and Wildlife tour reservations: elkhornslough.org/calendar. For instructions on how to participate in the Coastal Commission’s citizen science project, visit coastal.ca.gov/kingtides/index.html.

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