The highest tides in the world can be found in Canada at the Bay of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. At some times of the year the difference between high and low tide in this Bay is 16.3 meters, taller than a three-story building.
The highest tides in the United States can be found near Anchorage, Alaska, with tidal ranges up to 12.2 meters.
Tidal highs and lows depend on a lot of different factors. The shape and geometry of a coastline play a major role, as do the locations of the Sun and Moon. Storm systems at sea and on land also shift large quantities of water around and affect the tides. Detailed forecasts are available for high and low tides in all sea ports, but are specific to local conditions.
That many of the areas of the world with high ranges of tides are in the areas of Alaska, Canada, and northern Europe has created a misconception that the range of tide increases with increasing latitude (as one moves farther from the equator and closer to the poles). This is incorrect.
Increased tidal ranges in these areas are created by the positions and configurations of the continents in the northern hemisphere. In the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, the continents of North America, Europe, and Asia are pressed closer together. This “constriction” of the oceans creates the effect of a higher range of tides.
In the higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere, in the southern tips of South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, tidal ranges are not increased. In these areas the continents are not pressed closely together, there is not a “constriction” of the oceans, and the tidal ranges are not increased.
Of the top 50 locations in the world with the largest tidal range (average difference between high and low tide), only two locations are within the U.S.:
On the U.S. East Coast, the largest tidal range occurs in Maine. The areas near Eastport and Cobscook Bay, Maine, experience tidal ranges of about 6 meters. Many areas north of Cape Cod have tidal ranges of 2.4-4.5 meters. South of Cape Cod to the Florida Keys, the normal tidal range is between 1.5-2.4 meters
Last updated: 04/26/18
How to cite this article