As a result of the moon's being aligned with the sun, extremely high tides are now having their way with the Californian coast.
Specialists refer to these above-average tides as “king tides,” and explain that their primary cause is an increase in the gravitational pull of the sun and moon.
These king tides manifest themselves several times a year, and more often than not they cause local flooding.
Occasionally, they can also foster rather powerful winter storms. The first to be affected by such high tides are highways and low-lying communities.
“We use the term king tides to refer to tides that are above average - the highest winter tides. King tides occur when the sun and moon are in alignment,” explained specialist Hilary Papendick, presently working with the California Coastal Commission.
According to MercuryNews, the kings tides reached their peak on Thursday morning, around 11 a.m., when tide levels in Redwood City hit roughly 10 feet.
However, no flights had to be cancelled, and the California highway patrol only had to close a connector ramp between Highway 101 and Highway 1 in Marin City.
Interestingly enough, both researchers and local officials wish to use these king tides as a means to figure out what can be done in terms of securing the Californian shoreline against the estimated increase in sea levels, which is bound to happen over the course of the following years as a result of climate change and global warming.
“Our shores are constantly being altered by human and natural processes and projections indicate that sea level rise will exacerbate these changes,” reads the official website for the California King Tides Initiative, whose goal is that of documenting the effects high tides and rising sea levels have on the US shoreline with the help of photographs taken and submitted by the general public.
“The images offer a living record of the changes to our coasts and shorelines and a glimpse of what our daily tides may look like in the future as a result of sea level rise,” the people behind this project went on to explain.
Specialists expect that the next king tides will hit this part of the US between February 7 and 9.