Washington Sea Grant, Port Townsend Maritime Center to host king tide-watching party today

PORT TOWNSEND — Each winter, king tides — the highest tides of the year — offer a spectacular shoreside show and a sneak preview of what rising sea levels will mean in years to come.

Washington Sea Grant invites the public for Port Townsend’s first King Tide Viewing Party at 8 a.m. today at the Salmon Club boat ramp next to the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

Free snacks and hot beverages will take the edge off the chill, and coastal experts will explain the science of these jumbo tides.

Bridget Trosin, Washington Sea Grant’s coastal policy specialist and the event organizer, explains that “extreme high tides, known as king tides, are a dramatic feature of Washington winters that occur when the moon comes closest to Earth.”

King tides don’t result from climate change, but these high-water events provide a visual glimpse of the future along Puget Sound, as a changing climate causes sea levels to rise.

The public is invited to take part in the King Tides Project and document Washington’s extreme tides by photographing Puget Sound parks, beaches or wetlands when the tide peaks today and upload photos to www.washington.kingtides.net.