The Causes of Ocean Tides and their Representation

The Causes of Ocean Tides and their Representation

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The so-called problem of the tides has for ages engaged the attention of observing and thinking men.

The ancients say little as to the agency whereby the moon is enabled to exert an influence upon the waters of the globe; but winds produced by the moon, vapors surrounding the moon and the special power of the moon to replenish moist bodies, are severally mentioned as being the probable means...

Since it has been universally recognized that the tides result from the attraction of the moon and sun, the popular mind has taken little interest in the manner in which these forces operate in order to produce the tides. The apparent hopelessness of the task has doubtless deterred many investigators from devoting to it a full measure of their attention. In fact, as will be shown in this book, the tide involves a number of problems, and to even discover what these problems are requires a good knowledge of the forms, sizes and depths of the oceans, together with a knowledge of the tide-producing forces.


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Publié par
Date de parution 19 octobre 2016
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EAN13 9782366593181
Licence : Tous droits réservés
Langue English

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The Causes of Ocean Tides and their Representation
The Causes of Ocean Tides and their Representation
Rollin Arthur Harris
LM Publishers
I saw the long line of the vacant shore. The seaweed and the shells upon the sand. And the brown rocks left bare on every hand. As if the ebbing tide would flow no more. Then heard I more distinctly than before, The ocean breathe and its great breast expand, And hurrying came on the defenseless land The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
All thought and feeling and desire, I said. Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o'er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed, And in a tumult of delight, and strong As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.
Henry W. Longfellow
Historical note on the tidal problem
The so-called problem of the tides has for ages engaged the attention of observing and thinking men. Before Newton established the law of universal gravitation, the whole subject was surrounded with an air of mystery, although the fact had long been recognized by many that in some manner the tides are governed by the moon or the moon and sun. Such views were held by Pytheas of Massilia, Seleucus of Babylonia, Posidonius the Stoic philosopher, Caesar, Cicero, Strabo, Seneca, Pliny the elder, Lucan, Claudianus and Macrobius.
The ancients say little as to the agency whereby the moon is enabled to exert an influence upon the waters of the globe; but winds produced by the moon, vapors surrounding the moon and the special power of the moon to replenish moist bodies, are severally mentioned as being the probable means.
However, before Newton's great discovery, several philosophers had gone so far as to suggest or assert that the tides are due to an attractive force of the moon analogous to magnetic attraction. Among these were Scaliger, Gilbert, the College of Jesuits at Coimbra, Antonio de Dominis, Stevin and especially Kepler.
Of course, not all ancient or medieval theorists admitted the moon to be the cause of the tides. Some of the many other causes brought forward were: The discharging of rivers into the sea; variations in depths and densities of the sea; the surface of the sea not being everywhere upon the same level; the respiration of the earth; submarine caverns; submarine heat; submarine vapors, exhalations, or fermentations; power exerted by a supernatural being; whirlpools and eddies; and the non-uniform motion of the earth or of its various parts.
When Newton had made public his capital discovery, and had shown that the magnitudes or ranges of the tides increase and decrease in accordance with the varying attractions of the moon and sun, the tidal problem was supposed to be nearing a solution. Indeed, Newton thought that he could see in the observed times of tides upon certain shores a justification of his theoretical considerations. His work, however, was only a beginning. Since his time, eminent mathematicians, astronomers and physicists — including Bernoulli, Maclaurin, Euler, Lalande, Laplace, Young, Lubbock, Whewell, Airy, Ferrel, Kelvin, Darwin, Levy and Hough — have addressed themselves to this subject ; while others, like Lagrange, Stokes, Rayleigh, Lamb and Poincare, have dealt rather with the underlying mathematical and physical problems.
Since it has been universally recognized that the tides result from the attraction of the moon and sun, the popular mind has taken little interest in the manner in which these forces operate in order to produce the tides. The apparent hopelessness of the task has doubtless deterred many investigators from devoting to it a full measure of their attention. In fact, as will be shown below, there is no such thing as "the tidal problem" analogous to the astronomers "problem of three bodies."
The tide involves a number of problems, and to even discover what these problems are requires a good...