Crowdsourcing Science
4:32 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Calling Citizen Photographers: Help Researchers Visualize Future Sea Level Rise

Researchers want you to grab the camera, head to the beach and capture this weekend's king tide.

The highest tides of the year are taking place, and the state is asking citizens to help document potential impacts of rising sea levels. 

“We are asking people to take pictures of high tide events at areas that have beach infrastructure like the jetties, the seawalls — something that has a source of comparison," said Mooney, a Washington Sea Grant coastal resources specialist who is co-leading the effort with the state Department of Ecology.

Why It Matters

King tides, which occur twice a year, help researchers visualize what future sea level rise might look like. 

Many places will be inundated unless new infrastructure is built, says Mooney. Alki beach in West Seattle, for example, has two staircases that get submerged during the highest tides. 

How To Participate

Washington Sea Grant, which has been collecting shoreline photos for five years, has a new website where people can learn the best spots to snap photos and upload their own. Photos without people are best, and participants should be OK with the state sharing their photos. 

The best times for high tide this weekend in Seattle will be 8 a.m. on both days, says Mooney.

“It’s a perfect time for a little morning hike on the beach,” Mooney said, adding it's best to choose a spot you're familiar with so you can recognize the differences triggered by king tide.