Some Tidal Facts and Figures

So where are the (second) highest tides in the world?

The highest tides in the world are indisputably in the Bay of Fundy; Canada. After that there are a number of other places which also have exceptionally high tides. To make a definitive list is somewhat difficult as there is some degree of claim and counter-claim about where the second highest tides are. Adapted from information (from tidal measuring stations) on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration United States Department of Commerce, the 10 highest tides are (by country/region) are:

  1. Bay of Fundy; Nova Scotia; Canada; 11.68(m)
  2. Leaf Lake; Ungava Bay; Quebec; Canada; 9.75
  3. Avonmouth; Bristol Channel; UK; 9.57
  4. Sunrise; Turnagain Arm; Cook Inlet; Alaska; US; 9.22
  5. Rio Gallegos; Argentina; 8.83
  6. Mouth of Koksoak River, Hudson Bay, Canada; 8.68
  7. Granville; Normandy; France; 8.58
  8. Banco Direccion; Magellan Strait; Chile; 8.53
  9. Iles Chausey; English Channel Islands; 8.20
  10. Cape Astronomicheski; Kamchatka; Russia; 7.34

See Google Map of these here

BUT… according to Australian Broadcasting Company Science pages

“The king of all Australian tides occurs near the town of Derby in King Sound, in north-west Australia, at the end of March and again at the end of April each year. Derby’s tides can reach up to 11.8 m and are the second biggest tides in the world (the largest, clocked at 15 m, occur in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.” (Source).

So Australia, on the face of it, seems to have the second highest tides. But the tides in the Bristol Channel are also routinely claimed to be the second highest tides in the world (not least on this blog), and this claim has, in the past, also been made for the tides in Kamchatka.

Perhaps such claim and counter claim is inevitable because we are talking differences of centimetres here. And, as will be set out, although tides are generally highly predictable – their actual height on any give high tide can vary, and become uncertain, in relation to the effects of wind direction, atmospheric pressure and other conditions.

And there is also – it seems – some question around what datum are being used to determined height data. To be investigated further.


Here is the entry on Tides in the great book Anticipatory History.

Published by  Uniformbooks 2011

Edited by Caitlin DeSilvey, Simon Naylor and Colin Sacett.

Tides is written by Phil Dyke of the National Trust

Images will emlarge on click

tide 1tide 2

cover

Pic is link to Amazon

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2 thoughts on “Some Tidal Facts and Figures

  1. I was watching a program about the Korean War which said there were 33 foot tides somewhere on the Korean Peninsula, ‘the highest in the world’. I live along the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet so I know better, but had to check to see if any Korean tides were even on the list. I have seen a couple other examples over the years that shows a lot of people don’t know anything about tides.

    • Hi thanks – interesting – 33ft is certainly not the highest, and yes it seems to be an example of people saying some or other tide is one of the highest – for dramatic effect.

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