Atmospheric tide

October 31, 2011, 8:22 pm

An atmospheric tide is caused by those oscillations in any atmospheric field whose periods are integral fractions of either a lunar or a solar day.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to expand this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

These differ from ocean tides in several ways, one of which is that atmospheric tides are excited not only by the tidal gravitational potential of the sun and moon but also (and to the larger extent) by daily variations in solar heating. Another difference is that the atmosphere is a spherical shell and thus there are no coastal boundaries to worry about. Finally, the response of the atmosphere to tidal forcing is by means of internal gravity waves rather than the barotropic surface waves of the sea. 

Further Reading:

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • R. Lindzen. Atmospheric tides. In William H. Reid, editor, Mathematical Problems in the Geosciences: 2. Inverse Problems, Dynamo Theory and Tides, pages 293–362. AMS, 1971.




(2011). Atmospheric tide. Retrieved from


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