Tides in the Gulf of Mexico




Zelter, B.D., and D.V. Hansen

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Gulf Publishing Company


A hypothesis is proposed to explain the observed diurnal tide in the Gulf of Mexico. The tide in the Gulf is believed to be co-oscillating with the tide in the nearby Atlantic Ocean and amphidromic points in the Florida Strait near Miami and in Yucatan Channel. Harmonic constants for the tide and tidal current principal diurnal constituents in overall area of co-oscillation support this theory. If the diurnal tidal current in Yucatan Channel is presumed to match that in the Florida Strait in both amplitude and phase, then calculations of the tidal amplitude inside the Gulf based on volume continuity are in good agreement with the observed value of about 15 cm for K1. The semidiurnal tides appear to be somewhat less controversial, with an amphidromic point apparently located in the Gulf roughly midway on a line between the Mississippi delta and the Yucatan Peninsula. Nevertheless, there are some controversial aspects that cannot be resolved with available tide and tidal current data. The tide and tidal current amplitudes and phases in the entrances to the Gulf are used to estimate a tidal energy dissipation of 2 x 10 exp 17 ergs/sec. An associated calculation of the mean amplitude of the tidal currents on the shelf, about one-half knot, is consistent with the somewhat larger amplitudes that have been observed in the passes of the estuaries bordering the Gulf.


pgs. 265-275


tides, tidal currents, tidal motion, tidal energy, amplitude, oceanography, gulf of mexico