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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Boston's "wicked pissah King Tide"

A "King Tide" is the highest type of non-storm-related tide in any given location.

It's an annual thing. The date varies, but is always at a high tide around the time when (1) the Earth's slightly elliptical orbit brings it closest to the sun (perihelion); (2) when the Moon's elliptical orbit brings it closest to Earth (perigee).

The combined and enhanced gravitational pulls "... result in the largest tidal range seen over the course of a year." (Wikipedia page)

Yesterday, (Oct 28 2015) Boston experienced a King Tide.

Boston normally has about a 10'/3m tide range, but this King Tide would run about 2.5'/0.75m higher than normal. This isn't a huge amount --- it's not "massive flooding" or anything like that.

But it is, coincidentally, about what an average, non-King/non-storm high tide will be like in a few decades, due to global warming and ocean rise. (The waters off New England have already risen by 4-5"/10-12cm since record-keeping began, with most of the rise happening in the last few years.)

The Boston Harbor Association --- a nonprofit focused on stewardship of the harbor, its 34 islands, and the surrounding shorelines --- and saw this King Tide as a teaching opportunity to "give a glimpse of Boston's average tide sometime around or after mid-century."

They asked for volunteers to take photos of vulnerable spots during what they christened the "wicked pissah King Tide;" they plan to use these to illustrate the point.

I went to the Boston waterfront yesterday to snap photos near Long and India Wharfs (popular tourist spots near the New England Aquarium, and where the various ferries and sight-seeing boats depart).

Long Wharf was awash:

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Medium-res video clip: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BweMPb5u6AP1amZIUFBvQUFDQjQ

Low-res vid clip:


Ferry departure:
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Low-res vid clip:



India Wharf was a little more protected, but roughly the same:
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Low-res vid clip:


Again, the point of the exercise isn't to show tsunami-type flooding or anything like that --- but to drive home the point that the ocears are on the rise, and that rare, once-a-year high tides today will be happening twice every day in just a few years.