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Tides in the Chesapeake Bay

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Author: Hannah, Grade 6

Abstract

I chose to study tides as my project during the summer of 2000 while I was at the Maryland Summer Science Center Horsehead Wetlands Program. One of the teachers there introduced the subject of tides to me and I found it very interesting. I have attended this camp for three years now and have learned that the marsh floods once a month, due to high tides. I had never gotten to experience this before and I thought it would interesting to see. The last day we came to the marsh it happened. One day we came to a marsh where there was practically dry land and the next day the water flooded up to our knees in the same marsh! This made me sure that tides would be my project.

This research project concerns two factors that affect tidal level. These factors are moon phase and wind direction; they will be tested to see if they have any affect upon the high tide mark in the Chesapeake Bay. Tides are the daily rise and fall of the oceans, bays, streams, rivers, etc. The usual frequency of tides is two high tides and two low tides daily. The lowest level of water is defined, as the "low tide water mark" while the highest water level is the "high tide water mark".

This project will have two problems. The problems will be: "Is the high tidal level of the Chesapeake Bay affected by moon phases?" and "Is the high tidal level of the Chesapeake Bay affected by of wind direction?" Both problems will be researched by going onto an Internet site that records oceanographic and wind data such as tidal level and wind direction. Using a calendar that is marked with the full and new moons, the moon phases can be identified.

All of my data (date, moon phase, wind direction, and tidal level) will be entered into a computer on a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel 2000. Then graphs will be drawn up on the same program. The graphs will compare moon phases with tides and wind direction and tides.

In conclusion, this research project shows that moon phases did not affect the high tide mark in the Chesapeake Bay while the wind direction did. The hypotheses were: "I predict that the tidal level will be affected by moon phases," and "I predict that the tidal level will be affected by wind direction". The first hypothesis was proved wrong yet the second one was right. This was an unexpected turnout. The background information had said the moon phases had the predominant affect on the high tide but it did not. In the Chesapeake Bay, the wind direction was the predominant factor. I could use my data to do a more specific project on moon phases and tides.

Problem

  1. Is the tidal level of the Chesapeake Bay affected by moon phases?
  2. Is the tidal level of the Chesapeake Bay affected by wind direction?

Background Information

What is a tide?

A tide is the daily rise and fall of the oceans. The lowest level of water is defined, as the "low tide water mark" while the highest water level is the "high tide water mark". The usual frequency of tides is two high tides and two low tides daily. Sometimes there is only one of either. This is because of the specific shape of the land, and the water gets trapped within an enclosed area of land.

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