Citizen Science Projects and Sea-level Rise

Several efforts are in place in California that strive to have citizens using photographs to document the tidal level, king tides, storm surge, flooding hazards, and other conditions concerning the boundary of the ocean and coastline. These photos can be used to calibrate sea-level rise and flood models, as well as provide unique detailed information on coastal resources that are currently or will be impacted by flooding.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Please remember to be smart and safe when participating in citizen science data collection. Don’t turn your back on the ocean.

California King Tides ProjectCKTP

Goal: Photographs of King Tide events.

  • These images offer a living record of the changes to our coasts and shorelines and a glimpse of what our daily tides may look like in the future as a result of sea level rise


Map with tidal information

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Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) Storm Photo



Goal: Photographs of lagoon and estuary mouths, lagoon and estuary overlooks, coastal roadways, seawalls, berms, cliffs, and beaches.

The most beneficial photographs will be those taken:

  • Regularly from the same location and angle (e.g., once per week or once per day) including low and high tides
  • With a fixed reference point within the field of view (e.g., a bridge edge)
  • Documenting large erosion or inundation events after a storm passes


Helpful Links:
Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation


USC Sea Grant: Urban Tides Initiativeurban


Goal: A yearlong community based science effort to help document current tidal lines and coastal flooding.

  • Collect images to visualize current flooding risks at coastal locations in Southern California
  • Use images to ground truth and calibrate scientific models that project flooding and erosion due to future sea level rise
  • Engage communities in meaningful science and invite them more effectively into the discussion of how we can adapt to rising seas
  • Increase ocean and climate literacy within our communities

Liquid photo database

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The Nature Conservancytnc


Goal: Photographs of El Niño conditions using phones and drones.

  • Higher than normal water levels – you can help us by capturing images of: waves overtopping dunes, water over salt marsh into uplands, lower reaches of rivers flooded, flooded roads and other infrastructure, estuary bars being breached;
  • Coastal landslides or other large erosional events’
  • Property damage from floods or landslides.


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