A spring tide is a large rise and fall of the tide and marks the time when the largest difference occurs between the water levels at high and low tide. During a spring tide the tidal currents are stronger and the time of “slack water” (the short period at the turn of the tide) is shorter. The opposite of a spring tide is known as a neap tide, when the difference between high and low tide are at a minimum. The time between spring tides and neap tides is about 7 days, which means that spring tides occur approximately every 14 days.
When do spring tides occur?
Spring tides occur approximately twice a month, around the time of the new moon and full moon. At these times the Sun, Moon and Earth form a line (known as syzygy). During this time the tidal force from the Sun reinforces the Moon’s tidal force and creates a stronger tide. The opposite of this occurs during the first and third quarter moon where the solar tidal force cancels some of the Moon’s tidal force. Spring tides occur at different times at this depends on your location. Knowing the exact time when these tides will occur is important for many reasons. A tide chart for your area will predict the times and height of the next spring tides.
Did you know?
The name spring tides does not come from the season known as spring, but from the same word as a natural spring.