A Glimpse of the King Tide this Winter
Thank you to all who rushed to the beaches of Southern California on December 4-5, 2021 and January 2-3, 2022 to help us document the King Tide. Your observations were vital to preparing Los Angeles for a future affected by climate change.
The culminating point of the King Tide gave us a glimpse of what California’s sea-level rise may look like, while the low tide during this phenomenon showed us the gravity of a shifting ocean.
This allowed scientists and the public to observe first-hand the intertidal habitats that are threatened by rapid sea-level rise. These habitats can be observed during normal low tides, but the extra low tide experienced during the event allowed for even more opportunities to observe and explore. During the King Tide, images were captured of threatened sea life, and people getting up close to observe it.
Although the low tide revealed a new view of ecosystems most people don’t get to see, capturing the high tide was just as important. The USGS has noted that “as beaches decrease in height and width with rising seas, the already narrow intertidal zones—supporting invertebrates that help cycle nutrients by breaking down organic matter—shrink further.” (How Rising Seas Push Coastal Systems Beyond Tipping Points | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)).
Images collected during these past King Tide events will not only help illuminate what the future impact of climate change will have on our California communities, but they also bring to light what ecosystems are threatened as climate change moves past the tipping point.
Photos of Santa Monica Pier at the low point during King Tide. Taken by Michelle Zentgraf.