How many high tides are there per day?

While some places have one high tide and one low tide per day, most coastal locations have two high tides and two low tides a day. These highs and lows typically aren’t equal. This is why, in most places, using the phrase “high tide” might be unclear. There’s actually high tide and higher high tide (and low and lower low tide).

If the Earth were a perfect sphere without large continents, every place would get two equal high and low tides every day. However, the presence of the continents, regional geography and features on the seafloor, among other factors, make tidal patterns more complex.

Around the world, there are three basic tidal patterns: semidiurnal, mixed, and diurnal. When both high tides are about equal to each other, and the low tides are also roughly equal, the pattern is called a semidiurnal tide. If the two highs and lows differ substantially, the pattern is called a mixed tide. Where there’s only one high and one low tide a day, it’s called a diurnal tide. One location can experience different tide patterns throughout the month.

Continue reading →