Tides are the most predictable of oceanographic phenomena, due both to the simplicity and predictability of the astronomical forcing and to the near linearity of the ocean's dynamical response. In the classical and simplest scenario, tidal prediction is based on harmonic analysis of past measurements at a fixed location. Limits to predictability arise because isolated astronomical spectral lines are broadened into "cusps" of incoherent energy, for example through interactions with non-tidal flows. Tidal prediction at locations without past measurements has historically been a major challenge, but, owing to near-global observations of modern satellite altimeters, the empirical harmonic approach now yields reasonably accurate predictions throughout most of the open ocean. Advances in numerical modeling and data assimilation allow these predictions to be refined (especially in shallow seas where observations remain insufficient to directly constrain tidal wave structure) and extended to include tidal currents. We review recent progress in the development of global and regional-scale tidal prediction capabilities, summarize accuracy of available charts, and briefly consider outstanding issues. Satellite altimetry has also helped unravel the global tidal energy budget and has clarified the role of internal tides as a sink of tidal energy. We summarize these results, and then turn to the challenging problem of predicting internal tides. To the extent that low modes remain coherent with the surface tide, elevations can be directly mapped. We review current efforts in this direction, which are already producing charts with predictive capability. However, internal tides (especially higher modes) interact much more strongly with lower-frequency ocean flows, so a significant fraction of this tidal signal is intermittent and incoherent. We close with a brief review of ongoing efforts to model global tides in combination with wind-forced ocean motions.
Egbert, Gary D., and Richard D. Ray. 2017. "Tidal Prediction." Journal of Marine Research 75, (3). https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/journal_of_marine_research/432