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# What is the Corolis force?

Question #25476. Asked by Nude Dude. (Dec 24 02 1:37 AM)

Kainantu

Since the globe is rotating, any movement on the Northern hemisphere is diverted to the right, if we look at it from our own position on the ground. (In the southern hemisphere it is bent to the left). This apparent bending force is known as the Coriolis force. (Named after the French mathematician Gustave Gaspard Coriolis 1792-1843).

The Coriolis force is a visible phenomenon. Railroad tracks wear out faster on one side than the other. River beds are dug deeper on one side than the other. (Which side depends on which hemisphere we are in: In the Northern hemisphere moving particles are bent towards the right).

In the Northern hemisphere the wind tends to rotate counterclockwise (as seen from above) as it approaches a low pressure area. In the Southern hemisphere the wind rotates clockwise around low pressure areas.

Animated diagrams on this site.
http://www.windpower.dk/tour/wres/coriolis.htm

 Dec 24 02, 3:28 AM
greencavalier

Since the globe is rotating west to east, an object thrown free of the surface of the earth, in the northern hemisphere, *appears* to be diverted to the west. This is because as the object keeps moving in the direction it was thrown, the earth moves under it towards the east.

This effect is called the coriolis force, because although it is not a force at all, the mathematical equations used to describe the apparent deviation from the intended line of travel work as if it were a force.

Mostly of interest to people firing unguided missiles. The longer they spend in the air, the further the earth has moved underneath them, so the further off-target they get.

 Dec 25 02, 5:26 PM

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