Tides are created because of the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the moon. As the Moon pulls at Earth, the solid parts of the earth are largely unaffected. But the water, which is always moving, feels the pull much greater. This creates two high tides and two low tides each day. There is about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides.

“Tides” is a generic term used to define the alternating rise and fall in sea level with respect to the land. We associate tides with oceans but they also occur in large lakes, though to a lesser degree.

Tides don’t cause waves. Winds and currents move the surface water causing waves.

There will be a Full Moon tomorrow and tides are affected by phases of the Moon. When Hurricane Sandy made landfall on Paradelle and the U.S. east coast, there was a Full Moon which made coastal flooding even greater.

Tide schematic.svg

When the sun and moon are aligned, there are exceptionally strong gravitational forces, causing very high and very low tides which are called spring tides, though they have nothing to do with the season. A Full or New Moon means the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined. These high tides are very high and the low tides are very low.

When the sun and moon are not aligned (more like perpendicular), the gravitational forces cancel each other out. These times have a smaller difference between high and low tides and is known as a neap tide.