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King tides: high tide and low tide vary

 

Image: The Marine Room

While cycling into work one day, a staff member at San Diego Coastkeepers noticed that a section of the bikeway was under water. The cyclist hadn't seen water in this spot before and wondered what the cause was. 

The flooding was the result of a king tide. King tides are the highest of high tides that are naturally-occurring and predictable. The moon's position in relation to Earth is responsible for all tides, including king tides.

Why does the height of high tide vary? What is the relationship between the Moon and Earth that causes this variance? 

Resources:

San Diego Coastkeepers: The King Tides Are Coming

NOAA: What is a King Tide?

California King Tides Project: Schedule of tides

NGSS & Grade

5-ESS1-2, ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

MS-ESS1-1, ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System