The Gulf of Maine King Tides project seeks to help residents of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia understand what rising sea levels will do to shorefront communities.

On Oct. 9, the region experienced a “king” tide, a term that refers to the highest tides that occur over the course of a year when the gravitational pull of the sun and moon reinforce each other. These tides, also known as perigean spring tides, occur when the moon is closest to the Earth.

When king tides occur during floods or storms, water levels can rise high enough to cause great damage to property and the coastline.

Gulf of Maine, a coalition of groups concerned with the future of the body of water that defines the region (see, held a photo contest, asking participants to document the results of the Oct. 9 high tide. Here is a sampling of the entries.

“As sea level rises, today’s king tide is tomorrow’s routine high tide. Daily high tides, monthly lunar tides, and intermittent storm surges are all moving steadily higher. It is important to grasp the magnitude and inevitability of this”¦ [while] there is time to plan and adapt.”

—John Englander, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis