Encyclopedia of Estuaries

2016 Edition
| Editors: Michael J. Kennish


  • Lisa V. LucasEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_199


Time scale refers to “the time allowed for or taken by a process or sequence of events” (OUP, 2013).

Essential concepts, application and usage

The above definition provides a general description of the term “time scale.” In science and engineering practice, a time scale is typically an estimate expressing a representative, overall magnitude as opposed to a precise value; as such, time scales (like length, velocity, and other commonly used scales) are frequently quantified in terms of orders of magnitude (Cushman-Roisin and Beckers, 2011). A time scale carries the dimension of time and may be expressed either in precise temporal units (e.g., seconds, hours, days, years, decades) or in approximate temporal units (as with “tidal,” “seasonal,” or “episodic” time scales).

In combination with other scales, time scales may be used to estimate the relative magnitude (and thus, importance) of individual terms in time-marching equations (Cushman-Roisin and Beckers, 2011). Time scales...

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA