Intensified by Climate Change, ‘King Tides’ Change Ways of Life in Florida
King tides, which frequently flood South Florida even when the sun shines, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth.
In South Florida, which takes rising sea levels seriously enough to form a regional compact to deal with global warming, climate change is no abstract issue. By 2100, sea levels could swell high enough to submerge 12.5 percent of Florida’s homes. These so-called king tides, which happen frequently, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth. Even without a drop of rain, some places flood routinely.
Monday’s planetary dance was particularly notable: The moon was both full and at its closest distance to the Earth since 1948. The closer the moon, the stronger the gravitational tug on the oceans, the higher the tide. Rising sea levels exacerbate the flooding, scientists said.