Tuesday, December 20, 2011

High tides illustrate vulnerability of San Diego’s shoreline

ScoopSanDiego: This week, some of the year's highest tides will breach California's coastal and bay shorelines, providing a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea levels rise in the coming years. Local environmental organizations are working within a statewide initiative to have volunteers in San Diego County document this winter's highest tides - known as "King Tides." Local organizers are focused on capturing coastal images on Dec. 23 - 24, 2011, Jan. 20 - 22, 2012, and Feb. 6 - 8, 2012.

Last year, photos taken during some of the highest tides of the year documented impacts to private property, public infrastructure and wildlife habitat across the state. As a result, the California King Tides Initiative was launched in the winter of 2010/2011 by a partnership of organizations including the Tijuana River National Research Reserve, San Diego Coastkeeper, WiLDCOAST and Surfrider San Diego Chapter.

Statewide, the organizations will use the photography to help policymakers visualize projected impacts from rising sea levels and take action to protect key infrastructure as well as wetlands, beaches and public access to the coast. The Initiative can engage Californians in a conversation about the future of coastal areas, identify and catalog coastal areas that are currently vulnerable to tidal inundation and build an online resource of images that can be used by everyone to communicate about coastal hazards.

"King tides demonstrate the power of visualization and give us a rare chance to see how higher sea levels and increased storm intensity could change our shoreline and impact our resources," says Kristen Goodrich, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. "One common sense approach to adapting to climate change impacts is to restore and protect wetlands, which function like natural sponges, buffering against rising sea levels, higher tides and increased storm and wave activity."...

High tide at San Diego's Ocean Beach Pier in 2002, during an El Nino, shot by Jon Sullivan, who has generously released this image into the public domain

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