Canadian Tides and Water Levels Data Archive

The Canadian tide and water level data archive presently holds water level observations reported from over a thousand stations, with the earliest dating back to 1848. The number of observations spans on average 6 years per station, with 60 stations measuring water levels for over 50 years.

Over 800 stations are subjected to appreciable effect of tides, and for most of these stations, the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) calculates and publishes predictions of the water levels associated with the vertical movement of the tide.

Observations from the CHS Permanent Water Level Network are added on a daily to monthly basis. Data are also exchanged annually with the Water Survey of Canada.

Observed hourly heights, daily means and monthly instantaneous extremes form the basis of MEDS digital archives. Observed tidal highs and lows are also available for a limited number of years. These data undergo two levels of quality control and are adjusted if there is a change in the reference datum at the station.

Original analog charts are stored on microfilm, some of which date back to the turn of the century and have not all been digitized.

Many water level gauges record in digital format at 15-minute sampling intervals while other gauges record in analogue form on a continuous strip chart which is then digitized to hourly intervals. Hourly levels and the monthly instantaneous extreme levels are taken directly from the digital readings without averaging or interpolation. For chart records, the monthly instantaneous extreme levels are taken directly from the chart. 15-minute data do not carry historical datum corrections, are not quality controlled, and hence are not made generally available.

For some very early records, the instantaneous monthly extreme level is known but the exact time and/or day is not. In these instances the appropriate field(s) is filled with asterisks. Also, in some instances, the extreme daily mean will exceed the value of the recorded all time instantaneous extreme, since for very early records, daily means were recorded for a station, but instantaneous extremes were not.

Daily and monthly means are calculated from the hourly levels. The daily mean is not computed if the number of observations is less than 16 per day for water level stations and 22 per day for tidal stations. The monthly mean is also computed from the hourly levels in each month, but only for months with at least 20 days of data. The yearly mean is computed from all the daily means available in each year, provided that the number of days is at least equal to 180.

A national database of harmonic constituents for tidal stations is also maintained at MEDS in co-operation with the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS).

Data and Products

  • Canadian Station Inventory and Data Download Canadian tides and water level data. Station information, digital data inventory of observed water level data available for download.
  • Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway
  • Station Benchmarks
  • CHS station benchmarks are now available on the CHS Tides, Currents and Water Levels website.

Requests for data, data products and additional information may be made online by completing the Data Request Form.

TWL Resources

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