Analysing long-term changes of tidal dynamics
in the German Bight





The North Sea and the German Bight in particular are very sensitive, complex, and dynamic environments which are highly susceptible to changes (natural or manmade) in the underlying conditions. These changes are often also reflected in the prevailing tidal characteristics usually derived from tide gauge records. Along the German Bight, unusual increases in the mean tidal range (MTR) have been identified since 1950 but increases levelled off in recent years. Preliminary investigations of the MTR at the gauges Dagebüll, Helgoland, Cuxhaven, Leuchtturm (LT) Alte Weser and Norderney and others have identified this trend. Up to now, all these stations (especially Helgoland and Leuchtturm Alte Weser due to their exposed location) are assumed to be hardly affected by inhomogeneities. During this accelerated phase, also the usually predominant lunar cycle (having minima in 1951 and 1970, maxima in 1960 and 1979) was overshadowed. During the same period the coastlines of the North Sea were subject to increasing anthropogenic modifications. There is a number of studies available trying to describe the interaction between MTR increases and changes in the underlying boundary conditions (e.g. mean sea level, astronomic, atmospheric). However, none of these studies was able to entirely describe the observed changes. An explanation, which has not been investigated in detail, is based on the idea that larger construction measures along the coastline are a major contributor to the MTR increases, as implied above. This proposal sets up upon this idea and aims at quantifying the influence of construction measures on the increases of the MTR. An additional topic of examination will be the potential effect of the construction measures on the position of the amphidromic points. Therefore, detailed analyses of tidal dynamics will be conducted using both tide gauge records as well as numerical model experiments.


Project duration:                           10/2016 – 09/2019

Granted funding:                           910.178 €


  • Research Institute for Water and Environment (fwu)
  • Department of Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering
  • University of Siegen

Project partners:

  • Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Costal Research (HZG)
  • Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN)




Contact information:

Project director
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Jensen
Research Institute for Water and Environment (fwu), Department of Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering, University of Siegen

Paul-Bonatz-Str. 9-11, 57076 Siegen
Tel: +49 (0)271 740-2172
juergen.jensen [at]


Project manager
Dr.-Ing. Arne Arns

Tel: +49 (0)271 740-2627
arne.arns [at]