Chapter 2: Physical Characteristics

Mean Spring Tidal Range (m)

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Tidal range is generally between 4 and 5 m; highest tidal ranges are found in the inner Solway Firth where the mean spring tidal range can be between 7 and 8 m. Tidal range is at a minimum in areas known as amphidromic points. One of these points occurs in Scottish waters between Islay and the Mull of Kintrye; another amphidromic point can be found in the north east of the North Sea. Tidal range decreases with distance offshore from the North East coast.

Data source for NMPi Mean Spring Tidal Range layer: Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources (see


Annual Mean Wave Power - Full Wave Field (kW/m)

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Sea surface waves are mainly caused by the effects of wind on the surface of the sea. Their height is predominantly determined by the fetch (i.e. distance wind has blown over) and length of time of the wind forcing. Some local modification of wave height can be caused by tides. The seabed also influences waves in shallow water as waves will become steeper and higher as they approach the shore. Wave power is the quantification of the power transmitted by a wave moving across the sea surface. In general, larger waves are more powerful but wave power is also determined by wave speed, wavelength, and water density. Within Scottish waters, the wave climate is mainly influenced by conditions in the North Atlantic ocean, where the fetch is long enough to establish large, regular waves known as swell. The north and west of Scotland (Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland) are most exposed to these conditions. On the east coast of Scotland, conditions in autumn and winter may also be rough in the North Sea because the wind direction can lead to a large fetch. Moreover, the Moray Firth is also relatively exposed because of its shoaling bathymetry and exposure to the North Sea.

Data source: Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources (see


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