Extreme high tides coming

  • Jan. 5, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Photos of the extreme high tides rising in January could help islanders see what the future holds. The provincial government is looking for coastal photographers to snap pictures of the king tides coming on Jan. 20 in Masset and Jan. 20-21 in Queen Charlotte. These can be uploaded to the King Tides Photo Initiative Flickr site and will help researchers understand the potential impacts of sea level changes due to climate change. The global sea level is predicted to rise, on average, by one metre over the next century as a result of melting glaciers and ice caps and the warming of the upper ocean. According to the information on the King Tides Initiative website, on Jan. 20 the Masset high tide will occur at 1:38 pm. The tide is predicted to be 4.0 m whereas the usual high tide range is 2.6 – 3.3 m. In Queen Charlotte the Jan. 20 high tide is at 1:34 pm and is predicted to be 7.2 m instead of in the usual 5.3 to 6.3 m range. On Jan. 21 the tide will be at 2:19 pm. “The king tide project aims to raise awareness of sea level rise and engage the public in helping to catalogue the effects of these water levels so that we can create meaningful adaptation plans,” said Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap when he announced the project last month. King tides are not caused by climate change. They happen twice a year when the moon is closest to the earth and the sun and moon’s gravitation forces reinforce one another. The winter king tides (also known as perigean spring tides) are typically more dramatic during the winter. The province invites photographers to submit images of coastal areas such as beaches, roads, parks and estuaries, known to be subject to flooding and erosion or areas where the high water levels can be gauged against familiar land marks, such as sea walls, jetties, bridge supports, dikes, buildings or other coastal infrastructure. “Before and after” pictures showing average water levels and the extreme high water levels for the same location will also be useful. More information on how to submit can be found at http://www.flickr.com/groups/kingtidephotos.