Urban Tides Community Science Initiative

Capture the future of our Urban Ocean!

You can help document the impacts of rising sea levels in your community. Sea level rise in Southern California is expected to match global projections with an increase of 5- 24 inches by 2050. Winter storms and king tides offer a glimpse of what flooding due to future sea level rise will look like in our beach communities. 

Urban Tides is a community based science effort launched in 2015 to document current tidal lines, beach erosion, and coastal flooding. The initiative has designated a series of beach and wetland locations where the public can take photographs of changing tides and flooding, then upload them into the Urban Tides database.  

View Initiative Flyer!

View newsletter: April 2016

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Objectives of the initiative are:

  • 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 



You can engage in meaningful science!

USC Sea Grant is building partnerships with non-formal education centers, schools, nonprofit organizations, and local municipalities in Southern California to engage communities in this effort. Images of tidal lines and coastal flooding provide critical information to help ground truth and calibrate scientific models used to identify vulnerable locations along our coast.  

The impending heavy precipitation and unusually large waves from El Niño will also exacerbate impacts such as nuisance flooding and erosion. Visualizing today's risks enables community leaders and local governments to set priorities as they plan strategies that will help the region adapt to the future impacts of sea level rise.

  • Watch a newsclip of USC Sea Grant training members of the Peninsula community in Long Beach on how to engage with Urban Tides.
  • See the story by KPBS in San Diego about the Urban Tides beach walk and training.
  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961
  • seagrant@usc.edu