A King Tide Looking for Its Queen

In Articles by mbc

I’m assuming you are here because you saw my Tinder profile. You might be wondering why I, a natural phenomenon – a force of nature – seeks connection. My name is King Tide, and this is my story. I’ve been around for as long as water has covered this planet. There are two children that sometimes follow me around: El Niño and La Niña but still no La Mamá yet.

Winter is my favorite season, due to the fact that this is when I visit California. Transportation to the Pacific Coast is simple when the moon and sun are aligned, leading to a perigean spring tide. This is when the moon’s gravitational pull is the strongest, and I awaken.

Occasionally, El Niño comes with me, and destruction tends to follow. You see, El Niño has the power to make me volatile with its high temperatures, weakened thermoclines, and increased sea surface heights. Due to California’s mixed semidiurnal tidal cycles, my high tides are extremely high and my low tides are extremely low. El Niño exacerbates my extremes, so you can only imagine how dramatically I can change so quickly.

Credit: Justin Werner, Lincoln City Homepage

If I am looking for love, it is only fair to lay all my cards on the table. Sometimes, things can get ugly. My mighty force has ripped entire kelp forests off their holdfasts. I can break piers and fences, and erode prominent coastlines. There are entire projects dedicated to the hazards I can inflict. To be honest, my biggest red flag is that I have the potential to literally wash away communities. I am merely a glimpse into the future of sea level rise and coastal flooding due to global warming and climate change.

According to NOAA, “Nuisance flooding can lead to road closures, overwhelmed storm water systems, damage to transportation infrastructure, and coastal erosion. Nearly 200,000 Californians live in low-lying coastal areas and 873 miles of coastal roads are at risk from flooding during King Tides, storms, and other periods of elevated sea level. When flooding occurs, work and tourism are also interrupted: coastal tourism accounts for 39 percent of California’s $17.6 billion ocean economy; the state’s coastal economy accounts for $662 billion in wages and $1.7 trillion in Gross Domestic Product.”1

But, at least I am predictable and I also have a good side. I might be a challenge to conquer, but if you do, you could become a local hero. The large surf I bring to the coast offers a momentous opportunity to surf giant waves as tall as 18 feet.2

Additionally, I expose tide pools that one would normally be unable to see without diving. Check out my low tides here, to take advantage of the rare opportunity to go tide pooling in the low intertidal zone.

Credit: The San Diego Union Tribune, K.C. Alfred

So, here I am, on this digital platform, hoping to find someone who appreciates the beauty of the tidal dance, someone who can embrace the power and vulnerability of nature’s symphony. If you’re intrigued by the ebb and flow of life and can weather the storms, perhaps we can create a love story as timeless as the tides themselves. Swipe right, and let’s explore the shores of connection together.