Tidal dynamics in the Gulf of Maine and New England Shelf: An application of FVCOM Academic Article uri icon


  • The unstructured-grid, Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) was used to simulate the tides in the Gulf of Maine (GoM) and New England Shelf (NES) for homogeneous and summer stratified conditions. FVCOM captures the near-resonant nature of the semidiurnal tide and energy flux in the GoM and the complex dynamics governing the tide in the NES. Stratification has limited impact on tidal elevation, but can significantly modify the tidal current profile. Internal tides are energetic in the stratified regions over steep bottom topography, but their contribution to the total tidal energy flux is only significant over the northeast flank of Georges Bank. The model suggests that the tidal flushing-induced eddy east of Monomoy Island is the dynamic basis for the locally observed phase lead of the M2 tide. The southward propagating tidal wave east of Cape Cod encounters the northeastward propagating tidal wave from the NES south of Nantucket Island, forming a zone of minimum sea level along a southeast-oriented line from Nantucket Island. These two waves are characterized by linear dynamics in which bottom friction and advection are negligible in the momentum balance, but their superposition leads to a strong nonlinear current interaction and large bottom stress in the zone of lowest sea elevation.

publication date

  • December 10, 2011