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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

King Tides Give Bay Area a Sneak Peek at Rising Sea Levels

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:40 AM

click to enlarge The Embarcadero on Monday, Nov. 23 - DAVE R/FLICKR
  • Dave R/Flickr
  • The Embarcadero on Monday, Nov. 23

"The sun, moon and the earth are in proper alignment," sayeth the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration's latest San Francisco weather alert, not to urge you to start a new fitness routine or get back in touch with an old friend, but to "encourage the largest tidal cycle of the season." The so-called King Tides, which began yesterday and will continue through tomorrow afternoon, have prompted coastal flooding warnings throughout California. 

Tides in Northern California could increase water levels by as much as 8 feet, according to the California King Tides Project. The group (a coalition of government agencies and non-profits) wants Californians to use this opportunity not just to gawk at the admittedly exciting view of water spilling over the Embarcadero, but to imagine our future when the sea level rises — a future scientists generally agree is imminent.   

“The extremes of today will be the averages of the future,” said Charles Lester, executive director of the
California Coastal Commission, in a statement. “Sea level rise will fundamentally challenge our ways of living and building
along the coastline.”

Whether the Bay Area is prepared to meet that challenge is another question. A major report by the San Francisco Public Press earlier this year pointed out that Bay Area cities are planning $21 billion of development on a waterfront that is increasingly at risk of submersion. 

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.


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