Waimānalo Beach

Researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa have been teaming up with the government and citizens to track and predict the effects of king tides, according to a UH News story

A study by researchers at UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and at the U.S. Geological Survey has found that the degree of sea-level rise in “extreme water level events,” like king tides, will more than double in the coming decades. According to the UH News story, SOEST researchers predict that high water levels will continue throughout the summer.

King tides are higher than normal tides and are caused by a combination of El Niño, Pacific climate and variations in sea level from climate change. Hawai‘i has experienced record king tide heights in May and June 2017.  

“We are already facing the impacts of climate change and sea level rise today with widespread coastal erosion and increasing coastal flooding,” Brad Romine, Hawai‘i Sea Grant coastal processes specialist, said in the story.

The UH Sea Grant College Program founded a project that asks members of the community to take pictures of shorelines during king tides. According to the story, more than 200 people signed up to participate and more than 900 photos were taken in May alone.  

These photographs are meant to help researchers and policymakers better understand the impact of the king tides on local communities.