Sunday, March 2, 2014

Califronia King Tides Needs To Expand!

I've been shooting King Tide Photos since 2011 around the Half Moon Bay and Pacifica area. I've been submitting photos to the Bay Area King Tide and California King Tide Initiative thru their Flickr site.
Miramar Inn Tide 6.1, Swell 15-17 feet, Wind 15 mph
March 1, 2014

King Tides are generated due to the geometry and interaction of the earth, sun and moon during the months of December, January and February. In my area this can add about a foot of tide to the normal high tide. A common high tide is around 6.0 feet, a King Tide can push this up close to 7 feet. However King Tides do not necessarily represent the most extreme surf conditions. Several other conditions need to be present and coupled with a high tide, King or not for the most dramatic effect.
Surfer Beach Parking Area
March 1, 2014

Wind is a key factor, especially wind pushing the seas in a favorable direction. Next are high surf or swells generated by storms at sea and again the swell direction should match up closely to the direction the sea impacts the land. King Tide Days number about 9 for the entire year. I've found that getting wind and high surf on King Tide Days has a very low probability, which has frustrated me over the last two years. In the last two years, the SF Bay area has been experiencing drought conditions which translate to little storm activity, milder temperatures, and very little wind. So with just a few days of King Tides in a year and the anemic weather conditions, King Tides may not be the bellwether for the most extreme tidal condition as they relate to sea level rise. 

Surfers Beach Tide 6.1, Swell 15-17, Wind 15
March 1, 2014

Yesterday we had a high tide, 6.1 feet at 10:20 am coupled with a high surf advisory of 15-17 feet and a wind of 15 mph. The results were spectacular, better than the last two years of King Tides.
California King Tides needs to expand its activity for the entire year. I suggest King Tides be expanded to cover the entire year. Storms, storm surge, wind, and high surf advisories need to be monitored, along with day time tides of 5.5 feet and higher (I'm using my area for this number) and when the favorable conditions arise, word needs to be put out so photographers can get out and do their thing. This may only add a few days to the mix, but some of these days may prove valuable and dramatic and need to be documented.

Surfers Beach, tide 6.6, swell 0-5
November 12, 2012 

Surfers Beach, Tide 6.4, Swell 15, Wind 10
January 22, 2012