Large-scale changes of the semidiurnal tide along North Atlantic coasts from 1846 to 2018

Type Article
Date 2021-01
Language English
Author(s) Pineau-Guillou Lucia1, Lazure PascalORCID1, Woppelmann Guy2
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, CNRS, IRD, UBO, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, UMR 6523, IUEM, Brest, France
2 : LIENSS, Université de la Rochelle-CNRS, La Rochelle, France
Source Ocean Science (1812-0784) (European Geosciences Union (EGU)), 2021-01 , Vol. 17 , N. 1 , P. 17-34
DOI 10.5194/os-17-17-2021
WOS© Times Cited 2
Note Special issue | Developments in the science and history of tides (OS/ACP/HGSS/NPG/SE inter-journal SI)(OS/ACP/HGSS/NPG/SE inter-journal SI) Editor(s): P.L. Woodworth, R.D. Ray, M. Green, and J.M. Huthnance

We investigated the long-term changes of the principal tidal component M2 over the North Atlantic coasts, from 1846 to 2018. We analysed 9 tide gauges with time series starting no later than 1920. The longest is Brest with 165 years of observations. We carefully processed the data, particularly to remove the 18.6-year nodal modulation. We found that M2 variations are consistent at all the stations in the North East Atlantic (Newlyn, Brest, Cuxhaven), whereas some discrepancies appear in the North West Atlantic. The changes started long before the XXth century, and are not linear. The trends vary from a station to another; they are overall positive, up to 0.7 mm/yr. Since 1990, the trends switch from positive to negative values. Concerning the possible causes of the observed changes, the similarity between the North Atlantic Oscillation and M2 variations in the North East Atlantic suggests a possible influence of the large-scale atmospheric circulation on the tide. We discuss a possible underlying mechanism. A different spatial distribution of water heights from one year to another, depending on the low-frequency sea-level pressure patterns, could impact the propagation of the tide in the North Atlantic basin. However, the hypothesis is at present unproven.

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