Tides are the rising of Earth’s ocean surface caused by the tidal forces of the Moon and the Sun acting on the oceans.Tides cause changes in the depth of the marine and estuarine water bodies and produce oscillating currents known as tidal streams, making prediction of tides important for coastal navigation. The strip of seashore that is submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, the intertidal zone, is an important ecological product of ocean tides.
The changing tide produced at a given location is the result of the changing positions of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth coupled with the effects of Earth rotation and the bathymetry of oceans, seas and estuaries. Besides the ocean, tidal phenomena can occur in other systems whenever a gravitational field that varies in time and space is present.
In addition to oceanic tides, there are atmospheric tides as well as earth tides. All of these are continuum mechanical phenomena, the first two being fluids and the third being essentially the thin solid Earth’s crust on top of the semi-liquid Earth’s interior.
Atmospheric tides are negligible from ground level and aviation altitudes, drowned by the much more important effects of weather. Atmospheric tides are both gravitational and thermal in origin and are the dominant dynamics from about 80 km to 120 km where the molecular density becomes too small to behave as a fluid.
Earth tides or terrestrial tides affect the entire mass of the Earth, which can be viewed as a liquid gyro with a very thin crust. The Earth’s crust shifts in response to the Moon’s and Sun’s gravitation, ocean tides, and atmospheric loading. While negligible for most human activities, the semidiurnal amplitude of terrestrial tides can reach about 55 cm at the equator which is important in GPS calibration.
When oscillating tidal currents in the stratified ocean flow over uneven bottom topography, they generate internal waves with tidal frequencies. Such waves are called internal tides. The galactic tide is the tidal force exerted by galaxies on stars within them and satellite galaxies orbiting them. The effects of the galactic tide on the Solar System’s Oort cloud are believed to be the cause of 90 percent of all observed long-period comets.