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3.7.4: Spring and neap tide

  • Page ID
    16302
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    When the sun, the earth and the moon are in one line (full and new moon), the solar and lunar tides reinforce each other. The ellipsoid becomes more pronounced and the tide gets a bigger amplitude and is called spring tide. When the solar and lunar tides are 90° out of phase, their effects cancel each other (first and last quarter). The ellipsoid approaches a circle, and consequently the tide gets a smaller amplitude. This situation is called neap tide (Fig. 3.21).

    截屏2021-10-14 下午10.21.12.png
    Figure 3.21: When the sun, the earth and the moon are in one line, the tidal forces of the sun and the moon reinforce each other and spring tides occur. Neap tides occur when the effect of the tidal forces of the sun and the moon on the tidal bulges cancel each other.

    Figure 3.22 shows an example of these tidal variations.

    截屏2021-10-14 下午10.22.06.png
    Figure 3.22: Tidal variation in Vlissingen during more than a month in 2019. Note the spring and neap tidal variation and the daily inequality (Sect. 3.7.5). Data from https://waterinfo.rws.nl.

    The spring and neap tide cycle varies with moon phases and therefore with the lunar month of 29.5 days. The ratio of spring and neap tide amplitudes according to equilibrium theory can be estimated from Eqs. 3.7.3.1 and 3.7.3.2 as:

    \[(0.515 + 1.13)/(1.13 - 0.515) = 2.7 : 1\]

    This ratio is an approximation for the spring to neap tide ratio at open oceans. Anywhere else the ratio is affected by the presence of land masses (see Sect. 3.8).


    3.7.4: Spring and neap tide is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Judith Bosboom & Marcel J.F. Stive via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.