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Tides Webquest

Part I: Background on Tides


Begin your information search by using your textbook and accessing
http://www.nos.noaa.gov/education/tides/welcome.html
As you read through the tutorial, answer the questions below that correspond to each
section of the tutorial.
What are Tides?
1. What is a basic definition of a tide?
Tides are very long-period waves that move through the oceans in response to the
forces exerted by the moon and sun.
2. What is a high tide? What is a low tide?
hen the highest part or crest of the wave reaches a particular location, high tide
occurs! low tide corresponds to the lowest part of the wave, or its trough.
3. What is tidal range?
The difference in height between the high tide and the low tide
What auses Tides?
!. Tides are caused b" the gra#itational attraction of what two celestial bodies?
The sun and the moon
$. What does %ewton&s law of uni#ersal gra#itational state?
The gravitational attraction between two bodies is directly proportional to their
masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the bodies
'. Which celestial bod" has a greater effect on tidal forces on (arth?
The moon
)ra#it"* Inertia* and the Two Bulges
+. ,ow does the -oon create a bulge?
The moon is using gravity to pull the water toward the moon and at the same time
inertia is trying to hold the water in place. The gravitational force exceeds inertia
1.. What causes a bulge to be created on the o//osite side of the (arth or the
0far side1 fro- the -oon?
"nertia exceeds the gravitational force, and the water tries to keep going in a straight
line, moving away from the #arth, also forming a bulge
hanging 2ngles and hanging Tides
11. 3escribe how changes in the relati#e /ositions of the -oon and sun change in
relation to the (arth?
The changes in their relative positions have a direct effect on daily tidal heights and
tidal current intensity.
12. 2t what /oint is the sun at its -ini-u- declination and its -a4i-u-
declination?
The sun is at its minimum declination during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and
during the winter and summer solstices the sun is at its maximum declination
5requenc" of Tides 6 The 7unar 3a"
18. o-/are and contrast a solar and lunar da". ,ow long is a lunar da"?
A solar day is the time that it takes for a specific site on the #arth to rotate from an
exact point under the sun to the same point under the sun and a lunar day is the time it
takes for a specific site on the #arth to rotate from an exact point under the moon to
the same point under the moon. A lunar day is $% hours and &' minutes
1!. Wh" do -ost coastal areas e4/erience two high tides and two low tides?
Because the earth rotates through $ tidal bulges every lunar day
1$. ,ow long does it take for high tide to occur? ,ow long is the ti-e between
low and high tide?
"t takes ( hours and )$.& minutes for a tide to go from low-high or high-low. The time
between is )$ hours and $& minutes.
Tidal 9ariations 6 The Influence of Position and 3istance
1'. What causes s/ring tides? What causes nea/ tides? ,ow -an" s/ring and
nea/ tides occur in a lunar -onth?
hen the sun, moon, and #arth are in alignment *at the time of the new or full moon+,
extra-high high tides, and very low, low tides occur called spring tides. ,ne week
later, when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other, the solar tide partially
cancels out the lunar tide and produces moderate tides known as neap tides. -uring
each lunar month, two sets of spring tides and two sets of neap tides occur
1+. ,ow are tide6generating forces affected when the -oon is closest to the (arth
:or /erigee;? when the -oon is farthest awa" fro- the (arth :or a/ogee;? ,ow
does this affect the tides that are /roduced?
hen the moon is closest to the #arth, tide-generating forces are higher than usual
producing above average ranges in tides and when the moon is farthest from the
#arth, lunar tide-raising force is smaller, and the tidal ranges are less than average
2.. ,ow are tide6generating forces affected when the (arth is closest to the sun
:or /erihelion;? when the (arth is farthest fro- the sun :or a/helion;? ,ow does
this affect the tides that are /roduced?
hen the #arth is closest to the sun the tidal ranges are enhanced and when the #arth
is farthest from the sun the tidal ranges are reduced.
What 2ffects Tides in 2ddition to the <un and =oon?
21. ,ow are the -agnitudes of tides affected b" shorelines? B" -id6ocean
islands?
hen oceanic tidal bulges hit wide continental margins, the height of the tides can be
magnified. .onversely, mid-oceanic islands not near continental margins typically
experience very small tides
22. ,ow does a funnel6sha/ed ba" co-/are to a narrow inlet and shallow water?
/unnel-shaped bays in particular can dramatically alter tidal magnitude. 0arrow inlets
and shallow water also tend to dissipate incoming tides
23. What is the affect of strong tidal ri#ers on tides in estuaries?
"n estuaries with strong tidal rivers, powerful seasonal river flows in the spring can
severely alter or mask the incoming tide.
2>. What other abiotic factors affect tides? o-/are and contrast wind and
weather /atterns that affect tides.
1trong offshore winds can move water away from coastlines, exaggerating low tide
exposures. ,nshore winds may act to pile up water onto the shoreline, virtually
eliminating low tide exposures. 2igh 3 pressure systems can depress sea levels,
leading to clear sunny days with exceptionally low tides. .onversely, low-pressure
systems that contribute to cloudy, rainy conditions typically are associated with tides
than are much higher than predicted.