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Public asked to take photos of king tides
With higher-than-usual winter tides forecast this month and next, the state Department of Ecology is asking Washington residents to take photos of the "king tides."
"King tides" occur when the sun and moon's gravitational pull reinforce one another, officials said, and the high tides may offer a glimpse of how rising sea levels from global climate change could affect the coastal areas in Washington.
In Washington's coastal regions - Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the outer coast - this season's king tides will happen from late December through late January.
Dates vary slightly for king tides. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, king tides run through Dec. 25 and return Jan. 18-22. In Puget Sound, king tides are forecast for Dec. 27-29 and Jan. 13-17. And along the Washington's outer coast, king tides will occur through Dec.26 and Jan. 19-24.
Residents can use Ecology's king tide map and schedule to find when and where the highest tides will occur (go to http://188.8.131.52:8004/climatechange/ipa_hightide_map.htm). Photos should be taken when the high-water levels can be gauged against familiar landmarks such as sea walls, jetties, bridge supports or buildings. State officials also ask photographers to note the date, time and location of the photo, upload the images on the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Group at www.flickr.com/groups/1611274@N22/.
State officials said global climate change causes sea levels to rise and could affect Washington's marine areas by intensifying flooding, especially during high tides and major storms, increasing coastal bluff erosion, and shifting coastal beaches inland. Homes and other structures built near the shore can also be endangered by rising sea levels, which can also threaten coastal freshwater and connected underground water supplies.