Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Estuaries and Coasts


We investigate a mechanism for producing double-lows and double-highs in the semi-diurnal tide by selective amplification of higher harmonics in a resonant gulf. A double low water is observed at Providence, RI, near the head of Narragansett Bay on days when there is a flattening of the low water tidal curve at Newport, at the mouth of the bay. The flattening is caused by an unusually large quarter-diurnal component to the tide at Newport. The quarter diurnal component has the right phase (a maximum close to the time of the minimum in the semi-diurnal tide) to produce a prolonged flattening of the tidal curve around low water. The natural period of Narragansett Bay (for quarter-wavelength resonance) is close to 4 h and the quarter diurnal tide is amplified, relative to the semi-diurnal tide, within the bay. The selective amplification of the higher harmonic further prolongs the flattening effect at Providence and, occasionally, is sufficient to create a double low water at the head of the bay from quarter and semi-diurnal tides alone. More often, though, a sixth-diurnal harmonic produced within the bay, added to the flattened low water at Providence, creates the double low water. This mechanism of selective amplification of tidal harmonics could be relevant to double tides elsewhere.




Tides; Estuary; Double high water; Selective resonance of harmonics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.