A King Tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is "pulled" back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country.
King Tides provide a glimpse into future of what our shorelines may look like on a more regular basis as a result of rising sea levels. We know that global mean sea level is rising at an increasing pace. Pacific Island communities are especially vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise because so many of our homes, businesses, agriculture lands, cultural and historic sites, and important ecosystems are located in low-lying coastal areas. With sea level rise today’s extreme high tide will be tomorrow’s norm and the impact of King Tide events can help us better understand and prepare for sea level rise.
Photographs were taken over the past several days of King Tides along the southern shores of O'ahu, Hawai'i, participating in the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College program’s Hawai’i and Pacific Islands King Tides Project.