What is a King Tide?

A King Tide is a popular, non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides.

a king tide

A king tide viewed from south of Pier 96 in San Francisco, California, in February, 2016. Credit: Dave Rauenbuehler

A King Tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is "pulled" back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Earth is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country