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Tides in the Chesapeake Bay (page 3)

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Author: Hannah, Grade 6

Data

Data was collected from a NOAA website (http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/) for the period from July 1, 2000 through Oct. 31, 2000. The data was put on an Excel Spreadsheet. 2 scatterplots were done:

  • Relating moon phase and mean high tide level
  • Relating mean wind direction for that period and mean high tide level. I coded the moon phase and wind directions as numbers so that I could graph them. The code keys are under each graph. See http://www.qacps.k12.md.us/cms/sci/Tidehmm.HTM

Conclusion

Wind Direction

Tidal level in the Chesapeake Bay is affected by the wind direction. When the wind was blowing toward the south, (180º) the water was being pushed out of the Bay and it created lower high tides. This shows that my second hypothesis was right! I think that these results are significant enough to be used by scientists. The results make sense because, when the tidal level is lower, the wind direction is near 180º, and when it is higher, the wind direction is near 0. Some factors that could affect the tidal level, like the sun’s gravitational pull, the wind speed, and wind duration could have changed the results. I could use this data in further experiments to figure out what else affects the tidal level of the Chesapeake Bay.

Moon Phases

Tidal level in the Chesapeake Bay is not affected by moon phases. During the full and new moons, the high tidal level should be the highest. During 1st and 3rd quarter moons, the high tides should be the lowest. Instead the high tide levels seem to show no pattern with the moon phases. During 1st and 3rd quarter moons the high tides are just as high as when there are new and full moons. Also the tides during the 1st and 3rd quarter moons should be lower than average and they are not. This shows that my hypothesis about moon phases was incorrect. In my background reading, it was proved by other scientists that moon phases do affect tidal level. When I did this project, I came up with something else. The Chesapeake Bay results were different than the background reading research because the research was probably done on open bodies of water such as oceans. The Bay has one main mouth where all the water must go in and out during the tides. Oceans typically have less land surrounding them and the water is not limited about where it comes and goes. I could use this data in further experiments on tides.

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