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King tides Dec. 4-5 & Jan. 2-3

November 16, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

California King Tide project wants your photos.

Not much dry beach during the 11-16-20 king tide. (Larry Loeher)

This Malibu Colony house looks like it’s falling into the sea during king tide, but I think the camera was a little tilted. It’s not that bad off. Normally the bottoms of the leftmost support pilings are not submerged. (Grace Murayama 11-16-20)

The highest high tides of the winter are on their way

King Tides flooding on Pacifica's Beach Blvd

Look out for King Tides!
Dec. 4-5, 2021; Jan 2-3, 2022 Plus, for locations North of Ventura, Jan. 1, 2022

The California King Tides Project is calling on you to photograph our highest high tides of the year. Documenting these tides helps us preview the impacts of sea level rise and understand how our shoreline is affected by high water today.

If you’re able to safely take photos at the coast or Delta during King Tides you will be contributing to an important community science effort.

Find your local King Tide times and learn how to upload your photos on our website or with a free app. You can check out a selection of photos from each coastal county and access a map of all the King Tides photos from the last few years. Educators and parents can find ways to incorporate King Tides into student learning, including with an elementary-level science journal downloadable in English or Spanish. Middle and high school students may want to use King Tides images and concepts as they enter the Climate Video Challenge.

We can’t wait to see your photos! In the meantime, please join us on social media for #KingTides:

What causes sea level rise, and what do King Tides have to do with it?

The sea level rise we’re experiencing now and will experience in the future is caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere acts like a blanket, trapping in heat that would otherwise escape. When we burn fossil fuels, we’re adding more carbon dioxide, “thickening the blanket” and warming the planet and ocean. Sea level is rising because land-based glaciers and ice sheets are melting into the ocean and also because water expands in volume when it warms. The amount of sea level rise we will ultimately experience will depend on how quickly we stop burning fossil fuels.

King Tides themselves are not caused by sea level rise, but allow us to experience what higher sea level will be like. King Tides are the highest high tides of the year, about a foot or two higher than average tides, which corresponds to the one to two foot rise in sea level expected during the next few decades. When you observe the King Tides, imagine seeing these tides (and the flooded streets, beaches, and wetlands) every day. Understanding what a King Tide looks like today will help us plan for sea level rise in the future.

Sharing your photos and talking about what you’ve noticed helps others understand that they’re part of a community that cares about climate change.

Why are there different dates for northern and southern California?

Southern California will experience King Tides in November and December. There is an additional January King Tide in northern California, north of Point Conception/Vandenberg AFB, due to a combination of astronomical influences such as the relative tilt of the Earth’s rotation with respect to the Sun and seasonal influences on water level such as temperature and wind that differ in southern California as compared to northern California over the course of the year.

Thank you for your help! We look forward to seeing your photos!

California Coastal Commission
455 Market Street, Suite 228, San Francisco, CA 94105

An inundated tidal clock sidewalk measured 6′ 9.6″ lagoon water
level a week after the king tide. (L. Johnson 11-23-20)

  1. Liz Bell permalink
    November 16, 2021 8:35 pm

    What about the low tides? Was by they be pretty dramatic too? Want photos? I know, the high tides are more showy, but….

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Chukar permalink*
      November 17, 2021 1:09 pm

      Example: At Mugu lagoon on 12/4 High @ 8:17am of +6.95 ft, Low @ 3:41pm of -1.56 ft
      At Mugu lagoon on 12/5 High @ 9:00am of +6.91 ft, Low @ 4:32pm of -1.56 ft
      Those lows are very low tides. I’m pretty sure that annual lowest tides occur with annual highest tides, but don’t feel like researching that right now.

      I think a high tide & low tide shot, same day, same place, from same shooting viewpoint, would be very interesting and I’d love to put it on the blog.
      Here’s a good spot for tide info:
      This defaults to Mugu lagoon (for my personal convenience).
      Scroll down to Options area, select your favorite ocean site (or nearest comparable site), pick your date range.
      Then click the blue button “Plot Daily.”


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