Science / Tides and Currents / Constituent: One of the harmonic elements in a mathematical expression for the tide-producing force and in corresponding formulas for the tide or tidal current. Each constituent represents a periodic change or variation in the relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. A single constituent is usually written in the form y = A cos (at + '), in which y is a function of time as expressed by the symbol t and is reckoned from a specific origin. The coefficient A is called the amplitude of the constituent and is a measure of its relative importance. The angle (at + ') changes uniformly and its value at any time is called the phase of the constituent. The speed of the constituent is the rate of change in its phase and is represented by the symbol a in the formula. The quantity ' is the phase of the constituent at the initial instant from which the time is reckoned. The period of the constituent is the time required for the phase to change through 360° and is the cycle of the astronomical condition represented by the constituent.
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Science / Tides and Currents / Speed (Of Constituent): The rate of change in the phase of a constituent, usually expressed in degrees per hour. The speed is equal to 360° divided by the constituent period expressed in hours. MORE
Science / Tides and Currents / Species Of Constituent: A classification depending upon the period of a constituent. The principal species are semidiurnal, diurnal, and long-period. MORE