High High Tides in NY a Result of Unique Weather Phenomenon

A unique weather phenomenon that occurs in the spring and fall caused unusually high high tides in the New York area a few days this week.

The phenomenon is most commonly called “King Tide,” although scientists refer to it as the less catchy, but more accurate, “Perigean Spring Tide.” It can result in tides almost a foot higher than usual, according to the scientists at the blog SeaAndSkyNY.

The “Perigean Spring Tide” occurs four times a year — in March, April, September and October — when there is a full moon and and new moon, and the moon and the sun are aligned, which all “enhances” the effect of their gravity (see graphic below).

“They have been continually occurring, or a very regular and periodic basis, since there was an ocean on the Earth and a Moon orbiting the Earth,” said NOAA spokesman Ben Sherman.