TIDES

Introduction
Visible ocean phenomena
· Sea movement originated by Earth’s rotation OCEAN CURRENTS
· Sea movement originated by the wind WAVES
· Sea movement as a consequence of geological movements TSUNAMIS...
· Sea movement due to relation between Earth and our Solar system TIDES
Tides
Tides are the vertical rise and fall of the surface of a body of water caused primarily by the
differences in gravitational attraction of the moon, and to a lesser extent of the sun, upon
different parts of the earth.
The moon is many times closer to the earth than the sun, so its gravitational pull is two-and-
a-quarter times more pronounced, even though the sun’s mass is thousands of times greater.
A rising tide is termed flooding (or flood tide / high tide)
A falling tide is termed ebbing (or ebb tide / low tide)
Tides
The strong gravitational pull of the moon on the side of the earth varying with
respect to the sun, together with the strong outward centrifugal force generated
by the earth’s rotation on the opposite side of the earth will

• cause the water on the earth’s surface to bulge out in the form of high
tides on both sides of the earth
• The same phenomenon occurs between the sun and the earth but on a
much smaller scale


The moon revolves around the earth once each month. Since the earth rotates
beneath it in the same direction, it takes 24 hrs and 50 min for the earth to
complete one revolution with respect to the moon
- This period is known as a “Tidal Day”
Most locations on earth experience four tides per day; two high tides and two low
tides
Each successive high and low tide constitutes one tidal cycle
At some locations, tide patterns are distorted from the normal 4-tide pattern
because of the effects of:

Non-astronomical factors such as:

- configuration of the coastline
- local depth of the water
- ocean-floor topography, friction, and
- other hydrographic and meteorological influences

All these may play an important role in altering the range, interval
between high and low water, and times of arrival of the tides.
Wind and Weather
– i.e., The Bahamas
This is the actual case: How do
the continents and Earth’s
rotation affect the tides?
Rotary Waves
• Amphidromic points: the center of a
rotary wave
• Wave is larger away from the
amphidromic points

Progressive Tides
Shallow vs. Deep
Friction from
ocean bottom and continents
cause tidal bulge to lag behind
the moon.
Tide Waves Approaching Land

• In open ocean, the tide may only rise a few
feet
• As the tidal bulge approaches a continent or
island, the wave steepens just like a wind
driven gravity wave
• Tidal range can be up to 50ft in places

e.g., • Bay of Fundy, Nova
Scotia
Funnel Shaped
Elongated
Highest tides in
easternmost
part – head of the bay
Mont Saint Michel, France

• Very broad shallow bay

• Tide range is not large, but the result
is drastic because of the flat nature of
the bay
Tidal Channels

• Constricted inlets into a bay can cause very
strong currents with the ebb and flood of
the tide

• Bear Cut at RSMAS is an example
Spring Tides

The tidal effects of the sun and the moon act in concert twice a month – once
near the time of the new moon when the moon and sun are on the same side of
the earth as the sun, and again near the time of the full moon, when it is at the
opposite side of the earth from the sun.
Tides at these times are unusually high or low depending on location
Neap Tides

The tidal effects of the sun and the moon are in opposition to one another when
the moon is at quadrature – the first and last quarter – at which times the moon is
located at right angles to the earth-sun line.
At the times, high tides are lower and low tides are higher than usual.
Because the average interval between
consecutive transits of the moon (upper and
lower) is 12.42 hours, the moving high
waters take the form of a sine wave with a
period of 12.42 hours (as shown here).

Similarly, there is a sine wave with a period
of 12.00 hours following the apparent
rotation of the sun.

Types of Tides
According to the characteristics of the
tidal pattern occurring at a
particular place, tides are classified as:

• Semidiurnal
• Diurnal
• Mixed.
What causes Tides?

• At the surface of the earth, the earth's force of gravitational attraction
acts in a direction inward toward its center of mass, and thus holds the
ocean water confined to this surface.

• The gravitational forces of the moon and sun also act externally upon
the earth's ocean waters. These external forces are exerted as tide-
producing, or so-called "tractive“ forces.

Their effects are superimposed upon the earth's gravitational
force and act to draw the ocean waters to positions on the
earth's surface directly beneath these respective celestial
bodies (i.e., towards the "sublunar" and "subsolar" points).
Equilibrium Theory of Tides

Equilibrium theory makes the following assumptions:

Tidal-potential can be determined from celestial mechanics

Oceans of uniform depth cover the earth

The earth is not rotating, so no Coriolis force acts

No friction acts

Given these assumptions, equilibrium theory predicts a maximum tidal range of 0.5 - 1 m.

Dynamic theory takes the earth's true nature into account:

Earth is rotating

Continents exist

Bathymetry is highly irregular

Friction acts

Tides are long waves (highest frequency harmonics are semi-diurnal) so they behave as shallow-water
waves

The dynamic theory doesn't perfectly predict tides either, but it provides a much better explanation for
observed tidal patterns. The most accurate method of tidal predication (near coasts, at least) is to
carefully measure tides over an extended period, and use harmonic analysis.
Equilibrium Tidal Theory

• The tide-raising forces at the earth's surface result from a combination of basic forces.

– the force of gravitation exerted by the moon (and sun) upon the earth

– centrifugal forces produced by the revolutions of the earth and moon
(and earth and sun) around their common center-of-gravity (mass) or
barycenter.
According to Newton’s Law of Gravity, the attractive force of the Moon’s gravity on a
parcel of water on the Earth is:
2
R
M GM
F
m e
g
=
• R – Distance from the centre of the moon to the water parcel
• M
e
– mass of the earth
• M
m
– mass of the moon
• G – Universal gravitational constant: 6.67 x 10
-11
Nm
2
/kg
2
What is the gravitational pull of the
Moon on a water parcel on the near side
of the Earth? How about the far side?
2
) (
e
m e
g
R D
M GM
F
÷
=
(bigger)
2
) (
e
m e
g
R D
M GM
F
+
=
(smaller)
Pull on the side closest to the moon:




Pull on the side away from the moon:
The Inertial Tide

• Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object will not
accelerate unless a force is applied.
• Of course, our reference frame is accelerating
(rotating)! - The ‘centrifugal force’

 Centrifugal force results from the orbital
movement of the Earth

Centrifugal force is the same for every point
on the planetary surface
But distribution of the gravitational force is
highly varied

Vertical component of the gravitational pull of the
moon and sun is negligibly small

Horizontal component generates tidal force and
results in sea level variations

The Effect of Centrifugal Force.
As the earth and moon rotate around this common
center-of-mass, the centrifugal force produced is
always directed away from the center of revolution.
All points in or on the surface of the earth acting as
a coherent body acquire this component of
centrifugal force. And, since the center-of-mass of
the earth is always on the opposite side of this
common center of revolution from the position of
the moon, the centrifugal force produced at any
point in or on the earth will always be directed away
from the moon.
Tidal Forces
The Inertial Tide

• How big is the ‘centrifugal force?

• Same size as what we know as
centripetal force – the force that causes
an object to move in a circle.
The centrifugal force F on a body with mass m,
orbital velocity v and orbital radius R is




• In this case that force is provided by the
Moon’s gravity
D
v
M
D
M GM
m e
2
2
=
R
v
M F
c
2
=
Tidal Producing force on the side closest
to the moon:




(net force towards moon)

Tidal Producing force on the side away
from the moon:




(net force away from moon)

2 2
) ( D
M GM
R D
M GM
TPF
m e
e
m e
÷
÷
=
2 2
) ( D
M GM
R D
M GM
TPF
m e
e
m e
÷
+
=
*Towards the Moon is positive
Tidal Producing Force Equation Simplified:




Assuming radius of the earth R is very small in comparison to the distance D
between earth and moon, we have




So the former is approximately equal to the later TPF.


2 2
) ( D
M GM
R D
M GM
TPF
m e
e
m e
÷
÷
=
3
2
D
M GM
TPF
m e
=
· Are those points where the horizontal component of the TPF
(tractive force) is at maximum
Tractive Force
-unopposed by another lateral force
(negligible friction sea-bed)
-causes water to move
-is greatest at points along this circles
-this points have nothing to do with lattitude
or longitude
Gravitational attraction at point P:
2
) cos ( ¢
e
m e
gp
R D
M GM
F
÷
=
' 41 º 54 = ¢
Points where the TPF would have most effect in generating tides
Equilibrium Tidal Bulges
The two bulges mantain their positions relative to the Moon
So, they would travel around the world at the same rate but in opposite
direction as the Earth rotates
In any point on the Earth’s surface would encounter 2 high and 2 low tides
during each day
Variations in Lunar Induced Tides
The Moon’s declination
· Plane Moon’s orbit Plane Earth’s orbit angle between them = declination
· When declination 0:
- There is an offset between the plane of the two tidal bulges and Equator.
- The tides at a given lattitude will be unequal (particularly at mid-lattitudes)
=
= ÷
· Angle between lunar and Earth orbit: 5º
· Angle between Earth’s equator and ecliptic: 23 .4º
The Moon’s elliptical orbit
· Elliptical orbit variation in distance Earth-Moon variations in TPFs
· Difference in Earth-Moon distance (apogee – perigee) about 13%
· Moon in apogee TPF reduced about 20% below the average value
· Tidal ranges greater if Moon in perigee
÷ ÷
· Precession of the Moon’s elliptical orbit: 18.6-years
· This cycle can be identified in long-term tidal records
· Maximum declination of the Moon ranges from 18.4º
to 28.4º during the 18.6-years precession cycle
· Moon travels faster at perigee than at apogee
Variations in tidal cycles average = 12h 15’
· All his causes small variations in Earth-Moon period,
declination cycle and in perigee-apogee-perigee cycle
÷
~
÷
Variations In Lunar Induced Tides
The Earth-Sun
system
The Earth-Sun system
· There are tractive forces and two equilibrium tidal bulges
· TPF
SUN
0.46 TPF
MOON
(Sun is some 360 times further and )
· Semidiurnal period of solar tides of 12h
· Solar declination also produces variations in the relative heights of the semidiurnal solar tides
· Difference in distance Earth-Sun between aphelion and perihelion is only about 4%
~
3
/ 1 r TPF ·
Variation of the Sun declination over
the seasonal yearly cycle
· Changes in the orbit of the Earth around the
Sun over periods of tens of thousands of years
will affect the tides
INTERACTION OF SOLAR AND LUNAR TIDES
Declinations of the Sun and the Moon = 0
a & c
· The Moon and the Sun are in phase so they
reinforce each other
· They are said to be in conjunction (New
Moon) or in opposition (Full Moon)
· Spring tide (long tide)
b & d
· The solar and lunar tides are out of phase
so the tidal range is smaller than average
· The Moon is said to be in quadrature
· Neap tide (short tide)
Moon and Sun Comparison

• What is the ratio of the Sun’s gravitational pull on a
water parcel to the Moon’s?

• What is the ratio of the Sun’s tidal producing force to the
Moon’s?
Moon and Sun Comparison

Sun Vs. Moon
000 , 533 /
10 150
10 8 . 1
10 976 . 5
2
6
30
24
2
=
× =
× =
× =
=
R M
km R
kg M
kg M
R
M GM
F
s
e
s e
gs
000 , 314 , 1 /
10 3 . 1
10 5 . 7
10 976 . 5
2
6
22
24
2
=
× =
× =
× =
=
R M
km R
kg M
kg M
R
M GM
F
m
e
m e
gm

The ratio of the Sun’s tidal producing force to the Moon’s.



The combined effect is more important specially at the new moon when both the
sun and moon have the same celestial longitude.
45 . 0 ~
gm
gs
F
F
Note that moon is 1.5X
stronger than the sun in
generating our tides.
Tidal Datum (Reference) Planes

A Tidal Datum is a plane of reference for elevations that is based on average tidal height (of all
periodic variations in tidal height).

Thus, a tidal datum is usually considered to be the average of all occurrences of a certain tidal
extreme for a period of 19 years (rounded up from 18.6 years). Such a period is called a tidal epoch.
Examples of tidal datum planes:

Mean High Water (MHW) – average height of all the high waters occurring over a period of 19 years
(It is the high-water reference plane used on most naval charts for the
basis of the measurement of heights, elevations, and bridge clearance)
Mean Low Water (MLW) – average of all of the low tides over a 19-year tidal epoch.
(It is the sounding depth on which most water depths of foreign charts are
based)
Mean Tidal Level (MTL) or Half Tidel Level (HTL) – the plane halfway between MHW and MLW
Mean Sea Level (MSL) – average level of the sea as measured from hourly heights over a tidal epoch.
Two other datum planes of significance:

Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) – average of the higher of the high tides occurring each day at a
location, measured over a 19-year period.
Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) – average of the lower of the low tides occurring each day at a
location, measured over a 19-year period.
Common tidal datum planes
Note that,

The difference between MHHW
and MHW is called Diurnal High
Water inequality (DHQ).

The difference between MLLW
and MLW is called Diurnal Low
Water inequality (DLQ)
The principal tidal datums related to a beach profile (source: NOS).
Tidal Observations
Tide Gauges
Used to determine the exact water surface
level, i.e., the movements of tides during
the time soundings are made. Shown below
is a typical gauging station.

The gauges are read at regular intervals,
varying from 10 to 30 min, depending upon
the circumstances.
Whenever irregular gauge readings have
been made, the soundings may be
reduced by the following formula:



|
.
|

\
|
+ =
T
t
y h h
o
o
180 cos
Where h = height of water level above datum at the time of sounding, h
o
= height of MSL
above datum, y = rise of the tide above MSL, t = time interval between time of high water
and time of sounding, and T = time interval between high and low water.
Gauges are broadly classified as non self-
registering and self-registering. The latter
being better and preferred because these
are automatic, require no observer and
produce a continuous record in the form of a
graph known as marigram.
ALTIMETRY AND TOPEX/Poseidon
· Satellite Oceanography major component = ALTIMETRY
· Altimeter = Microwave radar pulse sent from an orbiting satellite, bounces the Earth’s surface an
returns to the orbiting spacecraft
· Same principle as GPS, aiplane altimeters and radars
· An altimeter meaures the height of the ocean
· ATTENTION!! Ocean’s height Ocean’s level
÷
=
· Seamounts and trenches which changes the
gravitational pull on the ocean surface
· Tide-producing forces
· Ocean currents
· Winds which cause waves and also force
ocean currents
· Sun heating the ocean, which causes it to
expand
· Atmpospheric storms, which cahnge the
pressure on the ocean surface
CONCLUSIONS
· The tides are the sea level differences mainly as a consequence of the interaction between the Earth
and the Moon
· The tide producing force is proportional to distance (Moon-Earth’s surface)
· The points where the TPF would have most effect in generating tides are those points where the
horizontal component of the TPF is at maximum
· There are two equilibrium tidal bulges
· The most important variations in lunar induced tides are produced by the Moon’s declination and by
the Moon’s elliptical orbit
· The solar induced tides are very similar to that the Moon’s induced tides but about 0.46 that of the
Moon
· When the Sun and the Moon are in phase we said to have Spring tides, and when there are out of
phase we said to have Neap tides

· Satellite oceanography and in particular Altimetry are the sciences that investigate the changes in the
sea surface
· The height’s ocean is affected by various factors such as the gravitational pull on the ocean surface,
the tides, the ocean currents, the winds, the Sun heating the ocean and the atmospheric storms
3