MIAMI FL – Hundreds of Montgomery, Berks, and Chester County residents own vacation get-aways or other properties on or near the New Jersey shore. Forecasting research on tides, announced Monday (Oct. 16, 2023) by the University of Miami, could make a difference in the future of their coastal real estate.
Tides, created by the gravitational pull of Earth and its moon, can’t be controlled, only predicted. A team of university scientists said they have developed a model that increases accuracy for short-term high-tide forecasts for as much as 10 days out.
In some cases, the group claimed, their test results were up to 50 percent more accurate than those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It’s the federal scientific and regulatory agency responsible for weather forecasts, climate research, and coastal access.
The importance of better tidal forecasts
Better forecasting may be “capable of giving people a heads-up when tidal flooding events are going to occur,” according to Nate Taminger, a part-time research associate at the university’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science. He’s been working on the model for four years as an undergraduate student.
Early warnings about rising tides can be essential information for owners of low-lying coastal infrastructure like beach-side homes, camps, and businesses. “Knowing when to expect high tides, and how high they might be, can help prepare for potential flooding events,” Rosenstiel School senior research associate and tropical cyclone expert Brian McNoldy explained.
Taminger has made three adjustments to NOAA’s baseline tide predictions, primarily by updating data that makes tides forecasting possible. The improved tool is being used now in parts of Florida, and may later be expanded with refinements.
“There are ups and downs in the mean sea level from one year to the next, but the overall trend is upward,” McNoldy added. “This means that places now flood during some high tides that did not flood before. Places that used to experience some flooding during high tides now experience it much more often, and with deeper water.”
Those hazards can affect the value of real estate, the cost and coverage of flood insurance, and the price paid to repair any damage.