Visit the EarthView web site to meet the team and learn about the project.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tide's Up!

Blondie's 1980 hit The Tide is High may no longer be as popular as it once was, but the EarthView team was still surprised to learn that many university students are not aware of what real tides are.

Cape Cod Low Tide
Tides are regular fluctuations in the water level of oceans that result from the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. Water levels typically rise and fall twice each day, with the difference between high and low tide ranging from a half meter in some locations to as many at 15 meters in the extreme case of the Bay of Fundy. Typical ranges are on the order of a meter or two. Learn all about tides from the Tides and Water Levels page at NOAA's Ocean Service. See NOAA's ocean education page for many more tutorials, games, and lesson plans about the oceans.

High and low tides do not arrive at the same time each day, nor do they arrive at all coastal locations at the same time. Even places that are very close together can experience tides at very different times because of the shape of the coastal environment. The timing of tides is very predictable, though, so newspapers in coastal areas usually publish expected high and low tides for several days at a time. The web site Salt Water Tides allows internet users to look up tidal charts for many U.S. locations up to one year in advance. These charts are reliable for the timing of tides, but the magnitude of high and low tides can be affected by many other factors at a local or regional scale.

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