Thetidal rangeis the vertical difference between thehigh tideand the succeedinglow tides. tidesare the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and thesunand the rotation of the Earth. The tidal range is not constant, but changes depending on where the sun and the moon are.
The most extreme tidal range occurs around the time of thefull ornew moons when the gravitational forces of both the Sun and Moon are in phase, reinforcing each other in the same direction (new moon) or are exactly the opposite phase (full). This type of tide is known as aspring tide.. Duringneap tides when the Moon and Sun's gravitational force vectors act in quadrature (making a right angle to theEarth's orbit), the difference between high and low tides is smaller. Neap tides occur during the first and last quarters of the moon's phases. The largest annual tidal range can be expected around the time of theequinox if coincidental with a spring tide.
Tidal data for coastal areas is published by the national hydrographic service of the country concerned.Tidal data is based on astronomical phenomena and is predictable. Storm force winds blowing from a steady direction for a prolonged time interval combined with low barometric pressure can increase the tidal range, particularly in narrow bays. Such weather-related effects on the tide, which can cause ranges in excess of predicted values and can cause localized flooding, are not calculable in advance.
The typical tidal range in the open ocean is about 0.6 metres (2 feet).Closer to the coast, this range is much greater. Coastal tidal ranges vary globally and can differ anywhere from near zero to over 11 metres (38 feet).The exact range depends on the volume of water adjacent to the coast, and the geography of the basin the water sits in. Larger bodies of water have higher ranges, and the geography can act as afunnel amplifying or dispersing the tide.The world's largest tidal range of 16.3 metres (53.5 feet) occurs inBay of Fundy,Canadaand theUnited Kingdom regularly experiences tidal ranges up to 15 meters betweenEngland andWales in theSevern Estuary. The top 50 locations with the largest tidal ranges world-wide are listed by theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of theUnited States.
Some of the smallest tidal ranges occur in theMediterranean,Baltic andCaribbean Seas. A point within a tidal system where the tidal range is almost zero is called anamphidromic point
We all know the moon is primarily responsible for the rising and falling of ocean tides. In most places, but not everywhere, there are two high tides and two low tides a day. For any particular spot on Earth’s surface, the height of the tides and their fluctuation in time depends not only on the moon, but also on the sun – and also on the shape of the specific beach, the larger coastline, the angle of the seabed leading up to land, and the prevailing ocean currents and winds.
The difference in height between high and low waters varies as the moon waxes and wanes from new to full and back to new again. The larger tides are called spring tides (nothing to do with season of spring). The smaller tides are called neap tides.
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