How do you interpret local tide tables?


Quick Answer

A local tide table displays the predicted times and heights of high and low tides. The height of the water is relative to a point called Mean Lower Low Water, which is the average height of the lowest tide during the recording period of a tidal station.

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Full Answer

A tidal table features the predicted height of the water level for high and low tides of a given period, but it does not display the predicted water level for the intermediate times. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website also provides a graphical plot of the prediction of the water level for periods between a day and a month. The predicted water level is represented as an oscillating line in a coordinate plane. The horizontal line represents time, and the vertical line represents the height of the water level, relative to the Mean Lower Low Water.

Tidal stations provide the data on which the predictions displayed in tide tables are based. These stations measure the height of the water level at each high and low tide. The NOAA website features the history of recorded heights, a comparison of predicted and actual tides, and a two-year tidal table for more than 3,000 locations around the United States.

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