Tidal variability in the Hong Kong region
Mean sea level (MSL) is rising worldwide, and correlated changes in ocean tides are also occurring. This combination may influence future extreme sea levels, possibly increasing coastal inundation and nuisance flooding events in sensitive regions. Analyses of a set of tide gauges in Hong Kong reveal complex tidal behavior. Most prominent in the results are strong correlations of MSL variability to tidal variability over the 31-year period of 1986–2016; these tidal anomaly correlations (TACs) express the sensitivity of tidal amplitudes and phases (M2, S2, K1, O1) to MSL fluctuations and are widely observed across the Hong Kong region. At a few important harbor locations, time series of approximations of the parameter δ-HAT, computed from combinations of the major tidal constituents, are found to be highly sensitive to MSL variability, which may further increase local flood levels under future MSL rise. Other open-water locations in Hong Kong only show TACs for some individual tidal constituents but not for combined tidal amplitudes, suggesting that the dynamics in enclosed harbor areas may be partially frequency dependent and related to resonance or frictional changes. We also observe positive correlations of the fluctuations of diurnal (D1) tides to semidiurnal (D2) tides at most locations in the region, which may lead to further amplified tidal ranges under MSL. It is demonstrated here that tidal changes in the Hong Kong coastal waters may be important in combination with MSL rise in impacting future total water levels.