The authorities must ensure there are tidal gauges, weather stations at strategic points

Dear Editor,

For decades as a known physical scientist while at UG I had been urging that we study the tides along our coast. The colonials used to do it, but when their tidal gauge, which informed the British Admiralty which compiled the tide tables, broke down a little after 1975 and remained unfixed for a long time (while I used to enquire) there was no tidal gauge in the country.

I no longer know where the tide gauges are or if indeed there are any at all. I should hope so, since the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI)  wants to build a new Demerara River bridge.

When ‘climate change’ became fashionable I made reasoned proposals for, among other things, tidal gauges at various points along the coast and their evaluation. My expressions of interest were never even acknowledged, but overseas consultants were hired and comrades in the ruling party at that time began to populate the Climate Change Offices.

As far as I know, the tide tables still come from the UK Admiralty and they did not show any extraordinary spring tide for the Phagwah Full Moon. They largely correspond to tables I have calculated using purely astronomical harmonics, with no actual tidal data. Enough suitable kinds of measurement would give data of resultant tidal vectors with time. It would characterise the local variation, that depend on shape of coast, direction of tide and stage of tide.

What the MPI must do is ensure there are tidal gauges and weather stations at strategic points to relay the data to where it can be processed. This can be done anywhere in the world now via the internet, from instruments in remote locations to MPI. With proper organisation and data management, analyses, interpretations, and, in due course, recommendations may be made by any number of physical scientists or engineers. PhD candidates from many universities may even do it for free.

I am sure the Florida tides and weather experienced by Jason Majeed (SN, Mar 6) are properly informed by measurement. Had we been maintaining this kind of data reliably and credibly we would have had more accurate data that might have predicted the recent West Coast Demerara high tides. It is never too late to start or resume so that coming generations will not lament our lack of information.

Yours faithfully,

Alfred Bhulai   

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