Spring tide

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Spring tide in Wimereux (France)

A spring tide , sometimes technically imprecise spring tide , is a tide whose high and low water are stronger than the average due to a special sun-earth-moon constellation. The spring high water (SpHW) is higher than the mean tidal high water. The low spring water (SpNW) is lower than the mean low tidal water. The opposite of the spring tide is the nipp tide , in which the high and low tides are less pronounced than the average.

root cause

The spring tide is caused by particularly strong tidal forces when the sun, moon and earth are in a straight line. When the moon is full , the earth is between the sun and the moon ( opposition ); when the moon is new, the moon is between the sun and the earth ( conjunction ). In both cases there is a spring tide.


Usually a spring tide is a rather inconspicuous phenomenon, in which the high tide is only a few centimeters higher than normal. Since the low tide is lower than normal during spring tide , there is overall stronger tidal movement . This can then, for. B. in straits, for example between island and mainland, make this noticeable in an increase in the tidal current. In narrow bays or in river mouths, there can even be a visible tidal wave, so that the spring tide is immediately visible as a natural event.

A spring tide becomes particularly strong when the water level is further increased by onshore wind.

Spring delay

Due to the monthly rotation of the moon, there is a spring tide every 14 days. The effect on the tide is delayed, for example by one to three days in the German Bight , compared to the position of the sun and moon. This delay is called jumping delay.

Medium spring flood

The mean spring flood (MSpHW, English Mean High Water Springs , MHWS for short) is the high water level in a tidal area that reaches the highest level on average during the spring season, i.e. around full moon and new moon, measured over 20 years on average. It describes the highest regular water level, i.e. apart from individual flood events as a state of emergency. It is used as the basis for the designation of clearances for ships under sea bridges.

See also

  • Pororoca , a tidal wave running up the Amazon

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ US Army Corps of Engineers: Glossary of Coastal Terminology. S. A48 f (English).