CALIFORNIA, USA — California King Tides currently raise the sea level about 1-2 feet during the summer and winter solstice periods. As global warming continues, sea levels are expected to rise anywhere from 1-2 feet by 2050, according to the State of California Sea Level Rise Guidance.
“That makes them very helpful for planning for future sea level rise. That's because that's the amount of sea level rise that we will see over the next few decades,” says Annie Kohut Frankel with the California Coastal Commission.
King tides are a version of high tide, but much more extreme. The same method of gravitational pull is used, but when the earth, moon, and sun are in alignment twice a year, these tides are magnified.
“So today, there may be a few days of the year, when the water is high enough that it's flooding, some roads or beaches or other infrastructure. But in the not very distant future, the water will be at least that high every single day,” says Kohut Frankel.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association has researched the rise of global temperature and has found sea levels rising 3.6 inches since 1993. NOAA has also seen a sea level rise of 8-9 inches since 1880.
Research across the globe points to a warming planet. The United Nations Climate Conference this year focused on the need to stop burning fossil fuels.
"The only true path to energy security, stable power prices, prosperity, and a livable planet lies in abandoning polluting fossil fuels and accelerating the renewables-based energy transition," stated António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations in his Op-ed on Climate Action.
The California Coastal Commission agrees.
"When we burn fossil fuels, we are putting additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that acts like a heat-trapping blanket warming our air, our Earth our oceans, and that increase in temperature melts the land ice which puts more water into the ocean. It also warms the ocean so warm water takes up more space," said Kohut Frankel.
Sea level rise is causing concern for more than eroding beaches, but for pollution.
“In some places that that's going to have it have a detrimental effect on pollution that has been underground, that it may push it up closer to, to where we all live and work and play," Kohut Frankel remarks.
The California Coastal Commission says they are working alongside planners and scientists to prepare for the rising sea levels in the coming decades.