Calling All California Citizen Scientists (You)!

El Nino Flooding at 26th Street Beach, Santa Cruz, December 2015. Photo credit: Kelly Leo

El Nino Flooding at 26th Street Beach, Santa Cruz, December 2015. Photo credit: Kelly Leo

You can help! Please post pictures of flooding and other coastal events to Flickr’s CA King Tides group with the hashtag #elninoca.

This year’s El Niño is predicted to be among the strongest on record and will likely cause significant impacts to our coastlines and cities in California. The El Niño may serve as our crystal ball, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect in the future. Climate change is likely to cause more frequent and severe coastal flooding, similar to what we may see with this winter.

The Nature Conservancy in California is launching the Phones & Drones El Nino Monitoring Initiative – a very important project to track how our coasts are impacted by flooding and storms intensified by El Niño. We are calling on “citizen scientists” (YOU out there with your smart phone or drone) to help us create maps that show the extent of flooding, locations of landslides, erosion of our cliffs, and even coastal property damage.

Using a smartphone, individuals can take a photo of the high water lines of a flood event and share the image on Flickr with the hashtag #elninoca. Using a drone, individuals can capture and share aerial imagery of El Nino impacts. Members of the California King Tides Initiative Flickr group can also share them there; just don’t forget to tag with #elninoca.

TNC will use the data to create spatial and temporal records of storm surge, flooding, and erosional events, and cross-reference them against our modeled predictions. This will provide a more comprehensive look at the effects of storms on our coast, giving us a better idea of how the shoreline will change with sea level rise and extreme events, and how habitats and communities will respond. We couldn’t do it without the help of our citizen scientists!

For more information on how to participate,

  • visit our webpage and watch the instructional video:
  • or email