Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 39–46 | Cite as

Tides in the atmosphere

  • Igor G. Zurbenko
  • Amy L. PotrzebaEmail author


Tides in the water are important for any kind of human activities at sea. They have a periodic structure caused by solar and lunar gravitational forces; the levels of the tides are provided everywhere along coastlines. Tables of tidal levels contain forecasted levels of tides and are of extreme importance. The atmosphere is considered a fifth ocean, and we are living at the bottom of it. Tides in the atmosphere can be noticeable only in changing atmospheric pressure. Distinguished scientist Sydney Chapman was the first to discover the existence of oscillations in atmospheric pressure with periods of Sun and Moon day on the Earth. The Moon is generating tides by its gravity, whereas the Sun affects the atmosphere thermally (by solar radiation) and gravitationally. Those atmospheric tides can be distinguished by their specific periods that are very well hidden within regular synoptic changes of the atmospheric pressure. Recent developments in the separation of periodic signals embedded in noisy environments have made this task possible. Atmospheric tides can be reconstructed from hourly records of atmospheric pressure at any point on the Earth. They behave as very well organized waves in time and spread up to one quarter of the globe. The atmospheric tides can be forecasted everywhere several months in advance. The influence of atmospheric tides appears much stronger than expected on many events in the atmosphere. We will discuss only a few of them in this paper leaving a wide opportunity for further research.


Tides in atmosphere Periodic signal reconstruction Difference frequency KZFT 



We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Robert Henry from NYS ENCON for not only providing us with the hourly atmospheric pressure and temperature datasets, but also for our numerous discussions of our results with him.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity at Albany, 1 University PlaceRensselaerUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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