Original paper

Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 394-415

First online:

Modelling the global ocean tides: modern insights from FES2004

  • Florent LyardAffiliated withLaboratoire LEGOS, UMR 5566, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées Email author 
  • , Fabien LefevreAffiliated withCLS
  • , Thierry LetellierAffiliated withLaboratoire LEGOS, UMR 5566, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées
  • , Olivier FrancisAffiliated withUniversité du Luxembourg, ECGS

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


During the 1990s, a large number of new tidal atlases were developed, primarily to provide accurate tidal corrections for satellite altimetry applications. During this decade, the French tidal group (FTG), led by C. Le Provost, produced a series of finite element solutions (FES) tidal atlases, among which FES2004 is the latest release, computed from the tidal hydrodynamic equations and data assimilation. The aim of this paper is to review the state of the art of tidal modelling and the progress achieved during this past decade. The first sections summarise the general FTG approach to modelling the global tides. In the following sections, we introduce the FES2004 tidal atlas and validate the model against in situ and satellite data. We demonstrate the higher accuracy of the FES2004 release compared to earlier FES tidal atlases, and we recommend its use in tidal applications. The final section focuses on the new dissipation term added to the equations, which aims to account for the conversion of barotropic energy into internal tidal energy. There is a huge improvement in the hydrodynamic tidal solution and energy budget obtained when this term is taken into account.


Tidal atlas Finite element modelling FES2004 Data assimilation