Why are there no ocean tides at the equator?
"Tides are a very complex phenomenon. For any particular location, their height and fluctuation in time depends to varying degrees on the location of the Sun and the Moon, and to the details of the shape of the beach, coastline, coastline depth and prevailing ocean currents. The tidal bulge of the Moon follows along the path on the earth's surface which intersects with the orbital plane of the Moon. This plane is tilted about 23 degrees with respect to the equatorial plane of the earth. The result is that near the equator, the difference between high tide and low tide is actually rather small, compared to other latitudes. To see this, draw a circle inscribed in an ellipse, with the major axis of the ellipse rotated by 23 degrees with respect to the circle's horizontal diameter. Now measure the height of the elliptical contour just above the 'equator' of the circle. You will see that it is quite small compared to other positions on earth, particularly at latitudes of 23 degrees or so. Even larger differences can occur depending on the shape of a bay or inlet or continental shelf." - Dr. Odenwald's ASK THE ASTRONOMER
Why are ocean tides so different everywhere?
"Because they depend on many factors including the geometry of your local coastline, and exactly where the Sun and Moon are located. Also, like the surface of a vibrating drum, the world oceans have vibratory modes that get stimulated in changing ways from minute to minute. Finally, there are storms at sea and elsewhere which move large quantities of water. Detailed forecasts are available for high and low tides in all sea ports." - Dr. Odenwald's ASK THE ASTRONOMER
Why aren't the Atlantic and Pacific coast tides the same?
"The nature of tides on the Earth's oceans is very complex. The oceans are, of course, being periodically 'forced' by a number of tidal sources including the Moon and the Sun, but this forcing has a number of different periods and harmonics. The two dominant periods are sue to the Sun and Moon, these are referred to as the S1 and M2 'modes' which have roughly 12 hour periods because they raise TWO water tides on the ocean diametrically opposite each other. But, for a variety of reasons, any given port will not have two high and two low tides each day; also called 'semi-diurnal tides'. A careful monitoring of the tides at any port for several years will show that in addition to the major modes, there are as many as 300 minor or 'harmonic' modes as well.
The World Ocean is a complex dynamical system. The natural velocity of a water disturbance depends on the depth and salinity of the water at each point it passes. When bodies of land circumscribe bodies of water, they produce a collection of resonating systems that favor water oscillations with certain frequencies over others. From among the 300+ harmonics that can be measured, every port and coastal location has its own unique signature depending on its latitude, longitude, water depth and salinity. The result is that the 'two high two low' tide rule can be strongly modified so that the time between successive high tides can be greater than or less that 12 hours in many cases. The result is that for some locations, there can be days when only one high tide occurs. Looking at the Atlantic and Pacific Coast tide tables for 1995, the data for the various 'Standard Ports' showed that virtually all days had two high tides and two low tides in San Diego, San Francisco, New York and Charleston. There were, however a few days every few months when only a single high tide occurred." - Dr. Odenwald's ASK THE ASTRONOMER
What is a Proxigean Spring Tide?
"The Moon follows an elliptical path around the Earth which has a perigee distance of 356, 400 kilometers, which is about 92.7 percent of its mean distance. Because tidal forces vary as the third power of distance, this little 8 percent change translates into 25 percent increase in the tide- producing ability of the Moon upon the Earth. If the lunar perigee occurs when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth, it produces unusually high Spring high tides. When it occurs on the opposite side from the Earth that where the Sun is located ( during full moon) it produces unusually low, Neap Tides. The High, High Tide is called the Proxigean Spring Tide and it occurs not more than once every 1.5 years. Some occurrences are more favorable that others.
A very interesting book "Tidal Dynamics" by Fergus J. Wood, published in 1986 by Reidel Publishing Company, talks at great length about these tides, and their environmental consequences.
Because of the gravitational nature of the interaction between the Earth, the Moon, and the water on the Earth, there is a curious amplification event called 'evection' that occurs when the Moon is at its closest 'perigee' distance called its 'proxigee'. The Moon draws even closer to the Earth than its ordinary perigee distance. Because of the complex dynamics of the Earth's oceans, their inertia, friction with the ocean floor, internal viscosity and the distribution of the continents, the maximum tides do not always coincide with the optimal times of proxigee. Still, these tides can produce enormous damage when all factors come together optimally. There are many recorded instances of unusually high storm or coastal flooding during the proxigean times. On January 9, 1974 the Los Angeles Times reported 'Giant Waves Pound Southland Coast".
During the last 400 years, there have been 39 instances or 'Extreme Proxigean Spring Tides' where the tide-producing severity has been near the theoretical maximum. The last one of these was on March 7 1995 at 22:00 hours Greenwich Civil Time during a lunar Full Moon. There were, in fact cases of extreme tidal flooding recorded during these particular spring tides which occur once every 31 years." - Dr. Odenwald's ASK THE ASTRONOMER
If the Moon were to escape, what would happen to the Earth's oceans?
"What happens is that the lunar water tides on the Earth go away, but the solar water tides still occur, but with about 1/3 or so the amplitude. There are still daily high and low tides, but they would be noticeably smaller. There would be no 'Spring' or 'Neap' tides, however."- Dr. Odenwald's...
What is the Suns gravitational pull?
Gravitation force = GM1M2/R2. Mass1 (earth): 5.97e24kg. Mass2 (sun): 1.99e30kg. Radius between them: 1.5e11m. Plug into equation and solve.