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 cyclones. It is measured as the rise in water level above the normal tidal level, and does not include waves.
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 surface serving as origin of depths displayed on a nautical chart. A chart datum is generally derived from some tidal phase, in which case it is also known as a tidal datum. Common chart datums are lowest astronomical tide (LAT) and mean lower low water (MLLW). In non-tidal areas, e.g. the Baltic Sea, mean sea level (MSL) is used. A chart datum is a type of vertical datum and must not be confused with the horizontal datum for the chart.
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 difference in height 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 depends on time and location.
The Australian Height Datum was introduced in 1971 as the official vertical datum for Australia, and thereby serves as the benchmark to which all height measurements are referred. The Australian Height Datum is an amalgamation of decades of spirit levelling work conducted by numerous state and territory authorities across the country, and was corrected to align with the mean sea level observations of thirty tide gauges positioned around the entire coastline. While it remains the published vertical datum for all surveying and engineering operations performed throughout Australia, newer technologies have uncovered numerous deficiencies, offsets and distortions within the Australian Height Datum, leading to discussions about defining a new Australian vertical datum.
A perigean spring tide, also known as a proxigean spring tide, is a tide that occurs three or four times per year when a perigee coincides with a spring tide. This has a slight but measurable impact on the spring tide, usually adding no more than a couple of inches.
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. King tide is not a scientific term, nor is it used in a scientific context.
In geodesy, surveying, hydrography and navigation, vertical datum or altimetric datum, is a reference coordinate surface used for vertical positions, such as the elevations of Earth-bound features and altitudes of satellite orbits and in aviation. In planetary science, vertical datums are also known as zero-elevation surface or zero-level reference.
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.
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.
Vertical Offshore Reference Frames (VORF) is a set of high resolution surfaces which together define the vertical datum for hydrographic surveying and charting in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The following surfaces are included: