If you search Hawai‘i on social media right now, you are bound to uncover photos and video of extreme tides that are hammering its shores. Some people are posting photos because of the spectacle, but others are capturing images for a citizen science initiative, according to Hawai‘i Public Radio. Citizens are encouraged to download an Apple or Android app for the Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands King Tides Project. The app allows the user to enter the GPS coordinates and a photo from the location, which is uploaded to the project’s dataset.
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) May-July is the critical time to document the tidal activity. The project site talks about the projections.
Hawaiʻi-specific projections are in line with global projections of sea level rise (SLR) with a mean height of 3 feet by 2100. In addition, the existing problems of chronic erosion in Hawaiʻi, which causes beach loss, damages homes and infrastructure, and endangers critical habitat, will likely worsen with SLR.
Although the emphasis here is on Hawai‘i/Pacific Islands, the international King Tides Project is actually gathering data from around the world and pinning sites on a map. One location, Tuvalu, mentioned the issue of saltwater infiltration of crops. So, using photography to create awareness about the problem now helps people to plan for the tidal challenges of the future. Did you know that Raspberry Pi is becoming a low-cost tool for citizen science? People are creating their own trail cams and relaying images. Check out our learning guide for Monitor PiCam and find out how you can combine a Raspberry Pi camera setup with a temperature sensor for some fun data collection. Be a scientist in your own yard!