Volunteers tracking king tides for sea level rise predictions

King tide markings on the Clarence River in Grafton on Monday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
King tide markings on the Clarence River in Grafton on Monday. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

CLARENCE Valley residents who joined in an Australia-wide project to monitor the reach of the recent king tides now have an idea of what their coastline could look like if sea levels continue to rise.

The Witness King Tides project, run by Green Cross Australia, invited Australians to photograph the reach of the most recent king tide, around 9-10am last Thursday.

Green Cross Australia CEO Mara Bún said Australia experienced two king tides each year.

These are the highest tides of the year and occur in summer and winter. Although king tides are a naturally occurring process, they offer an opportunity to understand what our coasts might look like in the future under conditions of sea level rise.

The Witness King Tides project began in New South Wales in 2009.

Following this event, similar initiatives were introduced in the United States and Canada.

In the summer of 2011-12 Green Cross Australia took the project to the community through a digital engagement model with a Queensland pilot program.

After the success of the Queensland project, with more than 1600 images submitted from up and down the Queensland coast, Green Cross Australia took the project national for the first time.

Coastal communities around the country are being encouraged to take photos when the king tide occurs in their local area and share them online.

"Witness King Tides will help us to identify and understand the impacts of rising sea levels on our beaches, coastal areas and shoreline communities," Ms Bún said."

This database of images will build a picture of the threat posed by sea level rise across Australia and will help track the future impact of climate change," she said.

"By sharing these images, we can picture what our coastal communities will look like in the future as sea levels rise and importantly, we can prepare and adapt for these changes."

Project partners include CSIRO, Australian Coastal Society, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Bleach Festival.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Tasmanian Climate Change Office and numerous coastal and estuarine councils around Australia fund the project.

Topics:  clarence river king tides

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