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Climate and Environment

A Full Moon Plus High Tides This Week Will Give Us Another Glimpse Into A Climate-Changed Future

Water completely covers the beach and rises up above a stairway on Catalina. The iconic round Casino Ballroom is in the backround.
A king tide overtakes the beach in Avalon.
(Courtesy California King Tides Project )
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A full moon on Wednesday night means coastal communities in California will be facing some really high tides, called “king tides.”

Around 10 p.m., tides are predicted to reach about 2 feet above normal high tide levels in Santa Monica, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service.

The high tides will affect most Southern California beaches through the week, from Point Dume to Huntington Beach. Meteorologist warn that these high tides may cause flooding and also increase the risk of rip tides, which can be deadly.

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The sun is shown at the far left in stacked images. The top showing a new moon between earth and the sun in alignment with the sun. The bottom image shows a full moon in alignment with the sun with the Earth between them.
(Courtesy NOAA)

If you're planning to be near the coast, authorities urge you to use caution.

It’s normal to have king tides a few times a year in California. They’re the highest high tide of the year and are predictable and natural.

They’re also a glimpse into the future. As we continue to burn fossil fuels and rapidly heat up the planet, melting ice sheets are making sea levels rise. If the world continues on its current course, Santa Monica Pier could be underwater by the end of the century.

Here's a look at projected sea rise along the L.A. and Orange county coasts.

While king tides themselves aren’t caused by climate change, they could become more frequent and less predictable. A 2019 NOAA report found that high tide flooding has doubled in frequency since 2000 and could triple as soon as 2030.

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