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King Tides – request for photo documentation

January 23, 2011 - 9.6' king tide at the mouth of Whatcom Creek, Bellingham. December 2011 kings will be the same height.

Washington State Department of Ecology is asking citizens to submit photos taken at high tide during the upcoming ‘King Tides’ – the winter highs. The system used last year appears to have been improved and simplified. Use the DOE’s time table to determine the times and dates. The idea is to document high water now, which will serve as a reference baseline as climate change raises sea level. If the weather is blustery, tides may be even higher as winds pile water against shorelines.

Go to the Department of Ecology’s King Tide website for instructions. Find when to take your photos, and come up with a good site you would like to document at the time of highest tides. Take the photos, and then upload them to the King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Group (photo storage and display) page. If you visit the Flickr page, you can search for specific locations to see where photos were taken last winter during this event. The most practical sites are those that have ‘improvements’, or where something is in the works, vs a wilderness or undeveloped shoreline.

Geotagging photos

Last year, many people could not upload there photos because they had not been geo-tagged [assigned coordinates using GPS], or the Flickr website did not recognize tagged photos and rejected them. An example is the one above. A new system is in place this year which may fix this problem, by allowing you to drag your uploaded photo to the proper location on a map on the Flickr site. Note- you must have, or make, a Flickr, Google, or Yahoo account to do this. Full instructions are on the King Tide website. They say this:

“3.Add your photos to this group! Watch these great tutorials created by British Columbia to learn how to upload photos to Flickr, how to “geotag” them (identify where the photo was taken using Flickr’s map) and how to add them to a Flickr group. ‘


One Response

  1. The site linked showed these so-called “king tides” to be highest at about 8 or 8:45 in Puget Sound for the last few days of December. However, if you consult the specifics for Bellingham Bay and other nearby areas, higher high water is predicted to occur around 7 am or so. This would make it a little dark for good photographs. http://www.co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/tide_predictions.shtml?gid=259
    So waiting until the last day of the highest tides, when higher high occurs later during these dark morning hours is a good idea. December 28th would be the last day of the highest tides in Bellingham and vicinity and the high is going to be at about 9 am. By the way, the graphs shown using the attached link show excellent examples of why our tide pattern is mixed….during a tidal day, there are usually two unequal highs (higher high water and lower high water) and two unequal lows (higher low water and lower low water). If we ever wonder why a high is typically a larger positive number than a “minus tide” is a negative number, the reason is that the average of the lower low water is the base, resulting in predictions such as a +9.2 foot tide or a -0.8 tide.There would never be a -9.2 even if there is a +9.2., since the average is not mean sea level but average lower low water.

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