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Animation explains how tidal forces on Earth result from the Moon's gravity. Silent. Possibly not entirely accurate in every respect. Silent.
Reupload of a previously uploaded film with improved video & sound.
Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
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.
Some shorelines experience two almost equal high tides and two low tides each day, called a semi-diurnal tide. Some locations experience only one high and one low tide each day, called a diurnal tide. Some locations experience two uneven tides a day, or sometimes one high and one low each day; this is called a mixed tide. The times and amplitude of the tides at a locale are influenced by the alignment of the Sun and Moon, by the pattern of tides in the deep ocean, by the amphidromic systems of the oceans, and by the shape of the coastline and near-shore bathymetry...
Tides vary on timescales ranging from hours to years due to numerous influences. To make accurate records, tide gauges at fixed stations measure the water level over time. Gauges ignore variations caused by waves with periods shorter than minutes. These data are compared to the reference (or datum) level usually called mean sea level.
While tides are usually the largest source of short-term sea-level fluctuations, sea levels are also subject to forces such as wind and barometric pressure changes, resulting in storm surges, especially in shallow seas and near coasts.
Tidal phenomena are not limited to the oceans, but can occur in other systems whenever a gravitational field that varies in time and space is present. For example, the solid part of the Earth is affected by tides, though this is not as easily seen as the water tidal movements...
Types of tides
Tide changes proceed via the following stages:
- Sea level rises over several hours, covering the intertidal zone; flood tide.
- The water rises to its highest level, reaching high tide.
- Sea level falls over several hours, revealing the intertidal zone; ebb tide.
- The water stops falling, reaching low tide.
Tides produce oscillating currents known as tidal streams. The moment that the tidal current ceases is called slack water or slack tide. The tide then reverses direction and is said to be turning. Slack water usually occurs near high water and low water. But there are locations where the moments of slack tide differ significantly from those of high and low water.
Tides are most commonly semi-diurnal (two high waters and two low waters each day), or diurnal (one tidal cycle per day). The two high waters on a given day are typically not the same height (the daily inequality); these are the higher high water and the lower high water in tide tables. Similarly, the two low waters each day are the higher low water and the lower low water. The daily inequality is not consistent and is generally small when the Moon is over the equator.
Tidal changes are the net result of multiple influences that act over varying periods. These influences are called tidal constituents. The primary constituents are the Earth's rotation, the positions of the Moon and the Sun relative to Earth, the Moon's altitude (elevation) above the Earth's equator, and bathymetry.
Variations with periods of less than half a day are called harmonic constituents. Conversely, cycles of days, months, or years are referred to as long period constituents.
The tidal forces affect the entire earth, but the movement of the solid Earth is only centimeters. The atmosphere is much more fluid and compressible so its surface moves kilometers, in the sense of the contour level of a particular low pressure in the outer atmosphere.
Principal lunar semi-diurnal constituent
In most locations, the largest constituent is the "principal lunar semi-diurnal", also known as the M2 (or M2) tidal constituent. Its period is about 12 hours and 25.2 minutes, exactly half a tidal lunar day, which is the average time separating one lunar zenith from the next, and thus is the time required for the Earth to rotate once relative to the Moon. Simple tide clocks track this constituent. The lunar day is longer than the Earth day because the Moon orbits in the same direction the Earth spins...