Tides, and other water

Trisha and I are on our annual two-week visit to Emerald Isle. For the past several years, I’ve been the beneficiary of an iPhone app called MyTideTimes that gives local tides at the four nearest locations to wherever you area. (According to its web site, the app supports locations around the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.)

The low tides during our visit are in the afternoons, the best times these days for beach walking. As I write this on Friday 7 July, the daytime low tide is at 13:02, a fall of .03 meters. Saturday’s numbers are 13:41, .02m. Sunday 14.20, .02m, Monday 14:49, .02m, Tuesday 15.38, .03m, Wednesday 16.20, .04m, 17.05, .06m, Friday 17.55, .08m, Saturday 18.51, 09m. I’m not sure what “fall” signifies. More research needed.

I’m more than a little interested in tides because of a book I found in the Beach Book Mart in Atlantic Station NC during a trip out to Bogue Banks in early June for an AA gratitude retreat: How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea—Learn to Gauge Depth, Navigate, Forecast Weather and Make Other Predictions with Water, by Tristan Gooley.

Gooley notes that sea level is influenced by, among other things, atmospheric pressure. The higher the pressure—and the higher the number read on a barometer—the lower the sea level. The difference between high pressure and low pressure levels is as much as a foot.

Therefore, a discernibly higher than normal sea level, even at high tide, means a drop in air pressure that presages bad weather. Because air pressure also affects the amount of water that rises through the soil and is held there in suspension, a drop in pressure can also mean a drop in the soil’s ability to hold water through capillary action and an increase in local flooding.

More to come. And this tidbit along the way: female ducks (and presumably other birds) have duller plumage because it gives them camouflage while nesting.

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