September 23, 2007 in Keepers Log, More Logbook, Questions for the Keeper

Questions for the Keeper: tides

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While I mixed up the pancake batter this morning, a house guests seated at the kitchen table peppered me with questions about the tides. In answer to one of his questions and to illustrate the difficulties of predicting tides, I started to tell the story from awhile back when the local astronomy newspaper column mistakenly forecast that a lunar perigee would result in an extreme high tide. The guest seated at the table said, “That’s me. I write that column.” That caught me by surprise. Here I was talking to Bob Berman, and he was determined to figure out the Hudson River tides after his previous error. He drew diagrams. He scrutinized the tide tables. We discussed lunar declination, solar equinoxes, basin resonance, and storm surges. I think Mr. Berman exemplified a scientific outlook by turning an error into a learning opportunity, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a newspaper column about the Hudson River tides in the near future.

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