Lunitidal interval

The lunitidal interval[1] measures the time lag from lunar culmination to the next high tide at a given location. It is also called the high water interval (HWI).[2][3] Sometimes a term is not used for the time lag, but instead the terms age or establishment of the tide are used for the entry that is in tide tables.[4]

Tides are known to be mainly caused by the Moon's gravity. Theoretically, peak tidal forces at a given location would concur when the Moon reaches the meridian, but a delay usually precedes high tide, depending largely on the shape of the coastline and the sea floor. Therefore, the lunitidal interval varies from place to place – from 3 hours over deep oceans to 8 hours at New York Harbor.[5] The lunitidal interval further varies within about +/-30 minutes according to the lunar phase. (This is caused by the time interval associated with the solar tides.)

Hundreds of factors are involved in the lunitidal interval, especially near the shoreline. However, for those far away enough from the coast, the dominating consideration is the speed of gravity waves, which increases with the water's depth. (It is proportional to the square root of the depth, for the extremely long gravity waves that transport the water that is following the Moon around the Earth. The oceans are about 4 km deep and would have to be at least 22 km deep for these waves to keep up with the Moon.[6] As mentioned above, a similar time lag accompanies the solar tides, a complicating factor that varies with the lunar phases.) By observing the age of leap tides, it becomes clear that the delay can actually exceed 24 hours in some locations.

The approximate lunitidal interval can be calculated if the moonrise, moonset, and high tide times are known for a location. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Moon reaches its highest point when it is southernmost in the sky. Lunar data are available from printed or online tables. Tide tables forecast the time of the next high water.[7][8] The difference between these two times is the lunitidal interval. This value can be used to calibrate certain clocks and wristwatches to allow for simple but crude tidal predictions.

See also


  1. ^ Australian Hydrographic Service definition at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2009-05-20)
  2. ^ NOAA HWI definition
  3. ^ Proudman Oceanographic laboratory definition Archived 2008-06-24 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Beyond the Moon: A Conversational, Common Sense Guide to Understanding the Tides, p. 89, by James Greig Mccully, World Scientific Publishing Company, Jan 13, 2006
  5. ^ Beyond the Moon: A Conversational, Common Sense Guide to Understanding the Tides, p. 89, by James Greig Mccully, World Scientific Publishing Company, Jan 13, 2006
  6. ^ M.Grant Gross, Oceanography, second edition, Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., p.114, 1971, Columbus, Ohio.
  7. ^ UK Tidal Predictions Archived 2005-04-06 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ NOAA Tides & Currents
Bahama Banks

The Bahama Banks are the submerged carbonate platforms that make up much of the Bahama Archipelago. The term is usually applied in referring to either the Great Bahama Bank around Andros Island, or the Little Bahama Bank of Grand Bahama Island and Great Abaco, which are the largest of the platforms, and the Cay Sal Bank north of Cuba. The islands of these banks are politically part of the Bahamas. Other banks are the three banks of the Turks and Caicos Islands, namely the Caicos Bank of the Caicos Islands, the bank of the Turks Islands, and wholly submerged Mouchoir Bank. Further southeast are the equally wholly submerged Silver Bank and Navidad Bank north of the Dominican Republic.

Carbonate platform

A carbonate platform is a sedimentary body which possesses topographic relief, and is composed of autochthonic calcareous deposits. Platform growth is mediated by sessile organisms whose skeletons build up the reef or by organisms (usually microbes) which induce carbonate precipitation through their metabolism. Therefore, carbonate platforms can not grow up everywhere: they are not present in places where limiting factors to the life of reef-building organisms exist. Such limiting factors are, among others: light, water temperature, transparency and pH-Value. For example, carbonate sedimentation along the Atlantic South American coasts takes place everywhere but at the mouth of the Amazon River, because of the intense turbidity of the water there. Spectacular examples of present-day carbonate platforms are the Bahama Banks under which the platform is roughly 8 km thick, the Yucatan Peninsula which is up to 2 km thick, the Florida platform, the platform on which the Great Barrier Reef is growing, and the Maldive atolls. All these carbonate platforms and their associated reefs are confined to tropical latitudes. Today's reefs are built mainly by scleractinian corals, but in the distant past other organisms, like archaeocyatha (during the Cambrian) or extinct cnidaria (tabulata and rugosa) were important reef builders.

Gravity wave

In fluid dynamics, gravity waves are waves generated in a fluid medium or at the interface between two media when the force of gravity or buoyancy tries to restore equilibrium. An example of such an interface is that between the atmosphere and the ocean, which gives rise to wind waves.

A gravity wave results when fluid is displaced from a position of equilibrium. The restoration of the fluid to equilibrium will produce a movement of the fluid back and forth, called a wave orbit. Gravity waves on an air–sea interface of the ocean are called surface gravity waves or surface waves, while gravity waves that are within the body of the water (such as between parts of different densities) are called internal waves. Wind-generated waves on the water surface are examples of gravity waves, as are tsunamis and ocean tides.

Wind-generated gravity waves on the free surface of the Earth's ponds, lakes, seas and oceans have a period of between 0.3 and 30 seconds (3Hz to 30mHz). Shorter waves are also affected by surface tension and are called gravity–capillary waves and (if hardly influenced by gravity) capillary waves. Alternatively, so-called infragravity waves, which are due to subharmonic nonlinear wave interaction with the wind waves, have periods longer than the accompanying wind-generated waves.


HWI may refer to:

Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, in Buffalo, New York, United States

Healthware International, an Italian advertising company

High water interval, or lunitidal interval, of tides

Horwich Parkway railway station, England

Hot water immersion therapy

Humanity World International

Wismar, Germany

Hardware Wholesalers, Inc., now Do It Best, an American hardware retailer

Index of physics articles (L)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

Layout of the Port of Tianjin

The Port of Tianjin is divided into nine areas: the three core ("Tianjin Xingang") areas of Beijiang, Nanjiang, and Dongjiang around the Xingang fairway; the Haihe area along the river; the Beitang port area around the Beitangkou estuary; the Dagukou port area in the estuary of the Haihe River; and three areas under construction (Hanggu, Gaoshaling, Nangang).

List of submarine volcanoes

A list of active and extinct submarine volcanoes and seamounts located under the world's oceans. There are estimated to be 40,000 to 55,000 seamounts in the global oceans. Almost all are not well-mapped and many may not have been identified at all. Most are unnamed and unexplored. This list is therefore confined to seamounts that are notable enough to have been named and/or explored.

Oceanic plateau

An oceanic or submarine plateau is a large, relatively flat elevation that is higher than the surrounding relief with one or more relatively steep sides.There are 184 oceanic plateaus covering an area of 18,486,600 km2 (7,137,700 sq mi), or about 5.11% of the oceans. The South Pacific region around Australia and New Zealand contains the greatest number of oceanic plateaus (see map).

Oceanic plateaus produced by large igneous provinces are often associated with hotspots, mantle plumes, and volcanic islands — such as Iceland, Hawaii, Cape Verde, and Kerguelen. The three largest plateaus, the Caribbean, Ontong Java, and Mid-Pacific Mountains, are located on thermal swells. Other oceanic plateaus, however, are made of rifted continental crust, for example Falkland Plateau, Lord Howe Rise, and parts of Kerguelen, Seychelles, and Arctic ridges.

Plateaus formed by large igneous provinces were formed by the equivalent of continental flood basalts such as the Deccan Traps in India and the Snake River Plain in the United States.

In contrast to continental flood basalts, most igneous oceanic plateaus erupt through young and thin (6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi)) mafic or ultra-mafic crust and are therefore uncontaminated by felsic crust and representative for their mantle sources.

These plateaus often rise 2–3 km (1.2–1.9 mi) above the surrounding ocean floor and are more buoyant than oceanic crust. They therefore tend to withstand subduction, more-so when thick and when reaching subduction zones shortly after their formations. As a consequence, they tend to "dock" to continental margins and be preserved as accreted terranes. Such terranes are often better preserved than the exposed parts of continental flood basalts and are therefore a better record of large-scale volcanic eruptions throughout Earth's history. This "docking" also means that oceanic plateaus are important contributors to the growth of continental crust. Their formations often had a dramatic impact on global climate, such as the most recent plateaus formed, the three, large, Cretaceous oceanic plateaus in the Pacific and Indian Ocean: Ontong Java, Kerguelen, and Caribbean.

Outline of oceanography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to Oceanography.

Physical oceanography

Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters.

Physical oceanography is one of several sub-domains into which oceanography is divided. Others include biological, chemical and geological oceanography.

Physical oceanography may be subdivided into descriptive and dynamical physical oceanography.Descriptive physical oceanography seeks to research the ocean through observations and complex numerical models, which describe the fluid motions as precisely as possible.

Dynamical physical oceanography focuses primarily upon the processes that govern the motion of fluids with emphasis upon theoretical research and numerical models. These are part of the large field of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) that is shared together with meteorology. GFD is a sub field of Fluid dynamics describing flows occurring on spatial and temporal scales that are greatly influenced by the Coriolis force.


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.

Tide tables can be used for any given locale to find the predicted times and amplitude (or "tidal range"). The predictions are influenced by many factors including the alignment of the Sun and Moon, the phase and amplitude of the tide (pattern of tides in the deep ocean), the amphidromic systems of the oceans, and the shape of the coastline and near-shore bathymetry (see Timing). They are however only predictions, the actual time and height of the tide is affected by wind and atmospheric pressure. Many shorelines experience semi-diurnal tides—two nearly equal high and low tides each day. Other locations have a diurnal tide—one high and low tide each day. A "mixed tide"—two uneven magnitude tides a day—is a third regular category.Tides vary on timescales ranging from hours to years due to a number of factors, which determine the lunitidal interval. To make accurate records, tide gauges at fixed stations measure 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 shape of the solid part of the Earth is affected slightly by Earth tide, though this is not as easily seen as the water tidal movements.

Tide clock

A tide clock is a specially designed clock that keeps track of the Moon's apparent motion around the Earth. Along many coastlines, the Moon contributes the major part (67%) of the combined lunar and solar tides. The exact interval between tides is influenced by the position of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth, as well as the specific location on Earth where the tide is being measured. Due to the Moon's orbital prograde motion, it takes a particular point on the Earth (on average) 24 hours and 50.5 minutes to rotate under the Moon, so the time between high lunar tides fluctuates between 12 and 13 hours. A tide clock is divided into two roughly 6 hour tidal periods that shows the average length of time between high and low tides in a semi-diurnal tide region, such as most areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Undersea mountain range

Undersea mountain ranges are mountain ranges that are mostly or entirely underwater, and specifically under the surface of an ocean. If originated from current tectonic forces, they are often referred to as a mid-ocean ridge. In contrast, if formed by past above-water volcanism, they are known as a seamount chain. The largest and best known undersea mountain range is a mid-ocean ridge, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has been observed that, "similar to those on land, the undersea mountain ranges are the loci of frequent volcanic and earthquake activity".

Wave base

The wave base, in physical oceanography, is the maximum depth at which a water wave's passage causes significant water motion. For water depths deeper than the wave base, bottom sediments and the seafloor are no longer stirred by the wave motion above.

Ocean zones
Sea level


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