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Tides are really all about gravity, and when we’re talking about the daily tides, it’s the moon’s gravity that’s causing them. As Earth rotates, the moon’s gravity pulls on different parts of our planet. Even though the moon only has about 1/100th the mass of Earth, since it’s so close to us, it has enough gravity to move things around. The moon’s gravity even pulls on the land, but not enough for anyone to really tell. When the moon’s gravity pulls on the water in the oceans, however, someone’s bound to notice. Water, being a liquid and all, has a much easier time moving around. It bulges toward the moon, and that bulge follows the moon as Earth turns beneath it
If Earth were perfectly round and completely covered in water, then high and low tides would be equally proportioned everywhere. But Earth is not a perfect sphere, and there are big continents getting in the way of water flowing and bulging in the direction of the moon. That’s why in some places, the difference between high and low tide isn’t very big, and in other places, the difference is drastic
The sun has a part to play in tides as well. For instance, when the sun’s gravitational pull lines up with the moon’s gravitational pull, the tides are more extreme. Wind and weather patterns also can affect tides. Strong offshore winds can move water away from coastlines, exaggerating low tides. Onshore winds can push water onto the shore, making low tides much less noticeable. High-pressure weather systems can push down sea levels, leading to nice sunny days with particularly low tides. Low-pressure systems that lead to cloudy, rainy days often cause tides than are much higher than predicted, so watch out!
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