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Homework Help: Coriolis Force

  1. Oct 30, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A parcel of air initially moves northward at a speed of 10 m/s at 45°S. After two hours, determine the new northward speed.

    2. Relevant equations

    Energy of a parcel= u^2+v^2

    The Coriolis force accelerates a parcel such that, du/dt=fv and dv/dt=-fu
    where f=2Ωsin[itex]\varphi[/itex] [itex]\varphi[/itex] =latitude and Ω=angular velocity of earth

    3. The attempt at a solution

    My first question about this problem is in regards to what it is asking for. It says to find the new northward speed of the parcel, however the Coriolis force only changes direction, not speed. So I then considered that the northward component of speed would change and that must be what the question is asking for. But then I thought about how speed is a scalar, not a vector, so there would be no "northward component" of speed because there simply aren't speed vectors. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2013 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Welcome to PF,

    So you're just hung up on terminology? The "northward speed" means the speed in the northward direction, which is the magnitude of the northward component of the velocity.
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