King Tide to be celebrated in the South Bay

The Manhattan Beach Pier and the huge surf on 12/30/23. Photo by Jefferson Graham

Thanks to the position of the Moon and its gravitational pull on our planet this week, it’s time again for the King Tides in California and other coastal states this week. 

The exact dates for King Tides: Thursday and Friday January 11 & 12 and February 9, 2024.

In California, there are state sponsored Tide photowalks all over the state, from the Eureka area down to San Diego. Locally, the King Tides will be celebrated at the Manhattan Beach Roundhouse Aquarium Friday, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  

Unlike the recent splash of monster waves, this event is all about showing the coastline in a way most people never see it. The highest tide of the year means the ocean should be taller than usual, about two feet higher, and the flip side is a low tide that will allow us to walk out way further onto an unusually drier ocean floor.

King Tide Day in Manhattan Beach in 2023, by Eric Martin

Scientists use the King Tides events—and your photos, to determine how average tides will be in the coming decades due to climate change.

“This is really about increasing awareness and engaging with the public about how it our coastline will be affected,” says Grace Adams, the executive director of the Manhattan Beach Roundhouse Aquarium. The tides “have a predictive nature, allowing us to monitor and see how the future sea level can impact our coast.”

And unlike the recent historic waves, which were so huge they stranded campers and pounded the windows off a local hotel on the central California coast, the waves this time won’t have the same pull, at least not in California, because there is no projected storm to accompany it says Eric Martin, the Aquarist director of the Manhattan Beach aquarium.

“Photo wise, walk down at low tide and then stick around for high tide” he says. “It should be an incredible sunset, with nice reflections in the water.”

What would occur if the King Tides become potential regular tides in the future? The higher tide and overall sea level would cause seawaters to reach terrestrial areas that were previously inaccessible,” says Adams. Oil, sediment, and
other potentially toxic pollutants could be absorbed by the encroaching saltwater and brought
back out into marine habitats where it would be detrimental to the wildlife. The incoming
saltwater can also mix into local freshwater habitats, damaging the native species.

At the Aquarium Friday, the 2024 King Tide
Watch will encourage visitors to capture photos of the ocean’s tide of the tides and to upload them to the California Coastal Commission’s California King Tides Project to
document the impact on our local coastline. After capturing photos of the King Tide, the Aquarium will be holding a community
discussion about the science of the Tides. 

 

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