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The North Carolina coast experiences a wide range of tidal regimes.  Water levels at a given location are influenced to varying degrees by both astronomical and meteorological forces and the relative contributions of these forces change over time.

Astronomical forcing is driven by the Earth’s position relative to its moon and the sun.  Meteorological forcing is the summation of wind speed, direction, and duration, as well as atmospheric pressure.  These forces shape the sea surface, which then interacts with the geomorphology of the coast, which together dictate patterns and levels of coastal inundation.

Variations in tidal amplitudes can be seen by examining observed water levels at different locations along the coast documented by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Check out these water levels by following the links to the right!