LightHawk, Surfrider Collaboration Tracks Tidal Impacts


Image: LightHawk/Surfrider Foundation

Conservation flight organization LightHawk teamed up with fellow nonprofit The Surfrider Foundation to capture high-level views of rising tides on the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts on Tuesday. LightHawk coordinated more than 20 volunteer flights along the coasts during the “king tides” that occurred on Jan. 22. King tides, more scientifically called perigean spring tides, occur several times a year due to the gravitational pull of the moon and sun and result in significantly higher-than-average tides. According to LightHawk and Surfrider, the effort aimed to “capture a glimpse of the future of sea level rise and climate change impacts.”

“Better understanding what future sea level rise might look like for coastal communities is imperative,” said Surfrider Coastal Preservation Manager Stefanie Sekich-Quinn. “Over the next 30 years, nearly 300,000 homes and commercial properties in the U.S., valued at over $136 billion, will be vulnerable to sea level rise […] We are hopeful our King Tide flights will inspire decision-makers and local communities to improve coastal management in light of future climate change impacts.”

The flights carried elected officials, photographers, subject experts and reporters to view impacts of the higher-than-normal tides. The organizations also said the flights will provide local communities with information about where and how to implement future adaptation strategies including relocating vulnerable infrastructure, improving building codes and increasing zoning setbacks from the coast.