Royal Tides: Everything you should know about sea level rise

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Monday, November 13, 2023
Royal Tides: A Preview to Sea Level Rise
Here's everything you should know about the highest tides of the year aka "King tides."

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Exploratorium is partnering with the port of San Francisco to share everything you should know about the highest tides of the year a.k.a. "King Tides."

"I like to call them the 'Royal Tides' because it's more inclusive," expressed Lori Lambertson, Exploratorium Educator. "Because of sea level rise, today's king tides are the future normal high tides."

The Exploratorium is dedicated to sharing information about king tides, so the community can gain better insight into why these tides occur and what can be done.

"The main thing that causes our tides is the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun," explained Lambertson. "The earth literally rotates under two tidal bulges every 24 hours."

According to Lambertson, the sun has half the tidal influence compared with the moon. Distance is key, as the moon is only a quarter of a million miles away from Earth versus the sun which is approximately 93,000,000 miles.

"So, here we are when the Earth and the sun are close, the Earth and the Moon are close, and we have a new moon or a full moon. All of these factors give us our king tides," described Lambertson.

Lambertson added, "People get excited because they see the water come up over the sidewalk, and I want to remind people that today's little bit of excitement... is going to be more serious in the future."

Rising sea levels will affect the entire Bay Area and beyond. Much of the city's infrastructure on which we depend is located along the shore. In the future, the rise could present a disruption to everyday life.

"Learning about it, learning what people can do to start to address it is really important," said Matt Wickens, who is part of the Waterfront Resilience Program at the Port of San Francisco.

"When we have this many people coming together to learn more about what's going on, that's better for all of us," said Lambertson. "We can all take this messaging back to our own families and communities, and the more informed they are, the better decisions we're going to make for everybody."

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