Data Analysis – Tidal Variations

Data Analysis – Tidal Variations

Tides account for short-term changes in coastal water levels. Most people are under the assumption that all coasts experience two high tides and two low tides of the same elevation per 24-hour period, and that high and low tides occur at the same time all along the same coast. This exercise allows you to compare tide data along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, and to explore the causes of tidal variations.

Type your answers to the following questions in bold. Save your work as a .doc or .docx file and upload to the designated dropbox by the assigned due date and time.


Go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tides and Currents home page. Click on Florida and and zoom in to view Miami, Florida. Click on the Virginia Key station  next to Miami.

  1. What time is the next tide? Is this a high or low tide?


  1. What will be the height (in feet) of this tide?


  1. How long does it take to go from high tide to low tide? High tide to high tide?


  1. Is this a diurnal, semidiurnal, or mixed tidal pattern? (Click on the ‘Plot Data’ button to generate a graph of water levels over a 24-hour period.)




Zoom out and examine high tide data along the northeast coast for the following stations , Atlantic City New Jersey, Lewes Deleware, and Ocean City Maryland.

  1. Notice that the time of high tide changes by location. What factors might control the time of high tide, causing these variations?


Move down to the coast of North Carolina. Click on the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Cape Hatteras  . The following graphs were taken from data collected at this station on March 25, 2020. Note that the actual water level is higher than that predicted by the tide models.

  1. Compare the water level graph to the atmospheric pressure graph, what might be the explanation for inaccuracy in the tide model for March 25?





Move down to the Florida panhandle and click on the Pensacola, Florida Station. Click on the station, and then on ‘Plot Data’.

  1. Are the predicted high tide water levels the same height? Are the predicted low tide water levels the same height, as in the following model for March 25, 2020? Propose and explanation for this variation in high and low tide elevations within a 24-hour period.



Our last station is the Coast Guard Sector Mobile station  , located along the Mobile Bay. Click on the ‘Plot Data’ button. Note that for this station the predicted differences in water elevation at high and low tide are as small as 0.1 feet.

  1. What is the most likely explanation for small differences in tide elevations for the Mobile Bay station?


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