Tide tables, sometimes called tide charts, are used for tidal prediction and show the daily times and levels of high and low tides, usually for a particular location.Tide heights at intermediate times (between high and low water) can be approximated by using the rule of twelfths or more accurately calculated by using a published tidal curve for the location. Tide levels are typically given relative to a low-water vertical datum, e.g. the mean lower low water (MLLW) datum in the US.
Tide tables are published in various forms, such as paper-based tables and tables available on the Internet. Most tide tables are calculated and published only for major ports, called "standard ports", and only for one year — standard ports can be relatively close together or hundreds of kilometers apart. The tide times for a minor port are estimated by the tide-table user manually calculating using the published time and height differences between a standard port and the minor port.
The dates of spring tides and neap tides, approximately seven days apart, can be determined by the heights of the tides on the classic tide tables: a small range indicates neaps and large indicates springs. This cycle of tides is linked to the phases of the moon, with the highest tides (spring tides) occurring near full moon and new moon.
However, successive (semidiurnal) tides are linked to the Moon's orbital period, thus they are approximately 24/27.3 hours later each day or about 50 minutes but many other observations and considerations are required to develop accurate tide tables. On the Atlantic coast of northwest Europe, the interval between each low and high tide averages about 6 hours and 10 minutes, giving two high tides and two low tides each day, with the highest tides about 2 days after full moon.
Tide prediction was long beset by the problem of laborious calculations. Before the use of digital computers tide tables were often generated by the use of a special-purpose calculating machine, the tide-predicting machine.
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth.
A lunar node is either of the two orbital nodes of the Moon, that is, the two points at which the orbit of the Moon intersects the ecliptic. The ascending node is where the Moon moves into the northern ecliptic hemisphere, while the descending node is where the Moon enters the southern ecliptic hemisphere.
A nautical chart is a graphic representation of a sea area and adjacent coastal regions. Depending on the scale of the chart, it may show depths of water and heights of land, natural features of the seabed, details of the coastline, navigational hazards, locations of natural and human-made aids to navigation, information on tides and currents, local details of the Earth's magnetic field, and human-made structures such as harbours, buildings and bridges. Nautical charts are essential tools for marine navigation; many countries require vessels, especially commercial ships, to carry them. Nautical charting may take the form of charts printed on paper or computerized electronic navigational charts. Recent technologies have made available paper charts which are printed "on demand" with cartographic data that has been downloaded to the commercial printing company as recently as the night before printing. With each daily download, critical data such as Local Notices to Mariners are added to the on-demand chart files so that these charts are up to date at the time of printing.
A storm surge, storm flood, tidal surge or storm tide is a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water commonly associated with low-pressure weather systems, such as tropical cyclones. It is measured as the rise in water level above the normal tidal level, and does not include waves. Most casualties during tropical cyclones occur as the result of storm surges.
The lunitidal interval measures the time lag from lunar culmination to the next high tide at a given location. It is also called the high water interval (HWI). Sometimes a term is not used for the time lag, but instead the terms age or establishment of the tide are used for the entry that is in tide tables.
Tidal diamonds are symbols on British admiralty charts that indicate the direction and speed of tidal streams.
A chart datum is the water level that depths displayed on a nautical chart are measured from. A chart datum is generally derived from some phase of the tide. Common chart datums are lowest astronomical tide and mean lower low water. In non-tidal areas, e.g. the Baltic Sea, mean sea level (MSL) is used.
The rule of twelfths is an approximation to a sine curve. It can be used as a rule of thumb for estimating a changing quantity where both the quantity and the steps are easily divisible by 12. Typical uses are predicting the height of the tide or the change in day length over the seasons.
A tide clock is a specially designed clock that keeps track of the Moon's apparent motion around the Earth. Along many coastlines, the Moon contributes the major part (67%) of the combined lunar and solar tides. The exact interval between tides is influenced by the position of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth, as well as the specific location on Earth where the tide is being measured. Due to the Moon's orbital prograde motion, it takes a particular point on the Earth 24 hours and 50.5 minutes to rotate under the Moon, so the time between high lunar tides fluctuates between 12 and 13 hours. A tide clock is divided into two roughly 6 hour tidal periods that shows the average length of time between high and low tides in a semi-diurnal tide region, such as most areas of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tidal range is the height difference between high tide and low tide. Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and Sun and the rotation of Earth. Tidal range is not constant but changes depending on the locations of the Moon and Sun.
A proxigean spring tide is a tide that occurs three or four times per year when a perigee coincides with a spring tide. This tide usually adds only a couple of inches to normal spring tides.
The theory of tides is the application of continuum mechanics to interpret and predict the tidal deformations of planetary and satellite bodies and their atmospheres and oceans under the gravitational loading of another astronomical body or bodies.
The North American Vertical Datum of 1988 is the vertical datum for orthometric heights established for vertical control surveying in the United States of America based upon the General Adjustment of the North American Datum of 1988.
A king tide is an especially high spring tide, especially the perigean spring tides which occur three or four times a year.
A vertical datum or height datum is a reference surface for vertical positions, such as the elevations of Earth features including terrain, bathymetry, water level, and man-made structures; in any particular case one must be assigned even if arbitrarily, and commonly adopted criteria for a vertical datum include the following approaches:
New Zealand has large ocean energy resources but does not yet generate any power from them. TVNZ reported in 2007 that over 20 wave and tidal power projects are currently under development. However, not a lot of public information is available about these projects. The Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association was established in 2006 to "promote the uptake of marine energy in New Zealand". According to their 10 February 2008 newsletter, they have 59 members. However, the association doesn't list its members.
A tide-predicting machine was a special-purpose mechanical analog computer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, constructed and set up to predict the ebb and flow of sea tides and the irregular variations in their heights – which change in mixtures of rhythms, that never repeat themselves exactly. Its purpose was to shorten the laborious and error-prone computations of tide-prediction. Such machines usually provided predictions valid from hour to hour and day to day for a year or more ahead.
Mean High Water (MHW) is a Tidal Datum representing the average of all the daily tidal high water heights observed over a period of several years. In the United States this period spans 19 years and is referred to as the National Tidal Datum Epoch. The most current MHW values are found in the North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
A Standard port is a port whose tidal predictions are directly given in the Tide tables.
Tide-Predicting Machine No. 2, also known as Old Brass Brains, was a special-purpose mechanical computer that uses gears, pulleys, chains, and other mechanical components to compute the height and time of high and low tides for specific locations. The machine can perform tide calculations much faster than a person could do with pencil and paper. The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey put the machine into operation in 1910. It was used until 1965, when it was replaced by an electronic computer.