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Tides Unveiled: Understanding Their Impact



  Jan 24, 2024

Tides and Their Impact



What are Tides?

Tides are the regular rise and fall of the ocean's waters. They occur along coasts where the water slowly rises over the shore (high tide) and then falls back (low tide). Tides can also affect some lakes and rivers.

What Causes Tides?

Tides are primarily caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and, to a lesser extent, the sun. The moon's closer proximity to Earth makes its gravitational impact more significant. Earth's rotation also influences tides.

How Do Tides Affect the Earth?

Tides exert a tidal force on the Earth, affecting both land and ocean. Land surfaces experience minor movements (terrestrial tides), impacting radio astronomy and GPS calculations. For oceans, this force causes water to bulge on the side facing the moon (high high tide) and on the opposite side (low high tide), leading to high tides.

What are High and Low Tides?

High tides occur where the ocean bulges due to the moon's gravitational pull. Low tides are areas of lower water levels between high tides. The movement from high to low tide is known as ebb tide.

What are Semidiurnal Tides?

Most tides are semidiurnal, meaning they occur twice a day. The tidal range varies during a 24-hour cycle, influenced by the moon's and sun's positions.

What Affects the Tidal Range?

The tidal range varies monthly due to the sun's gravitational force. Earth's surface features, like coastlines and ocean floors, also influence the range and frequency of tides.

What are Spring and Neap Tides?

Spring tides, occurring during new and full moons, are when the sun and moon align, causing higher and lower tides. Neap tides, with weaker tidal forces, happen when the moon is at a right angle to the sun, leading to less extreme tides.

What are Tidal Bores and Tsunamis?

A tidal bore is a strong tide along coasts where a river meets the ocean, pushing up against the river's current. Tsunamis, unrelated to tides, are caused by underwater earthquakes and volcanoes.

What is the Intertidal Zone?

The intertidal zone, affected by tides, is rich in biodiversity. It includes tide pools and varies in composition (hard or soft bottoms). Different organisms adapt to various zones within this range.

How Do Tides Impact Humans?

Tides are important for shipping, travel, and tidal energy generation. They also affect geographic imaging systems (GIS), essential for mapping and navigation. Tidal energy can be harnessed using turbines, barrages, or tidal lagoons.

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