# Does the Coriolis Effect Occur When Wind Moves Horizontally?

• B
I'm trying to get an understanding of the Coriolis effect, and I understand it when the wind moves longitudinally (North-South). Basically, the wind has a certain horizontal component of its velocity due to the rotation of the Earth, and as it moves North or South the rotation of the Earth changes and so the wind's relative horizontal component of its velocity changes. I understand all this, but too many a time I have seen the effect explained, this nuance is completely neglected. Does the Coriolis effect still occur when wind moves horizontally?

andrewkirk
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Does the Coriolis effect still occur when wind moves horizontally?
By horizontally, I presume you mean moving along a line of latitude. The answer is yes. If the wind is blowing towards the West (East), the Coriolis effect will push it slightly away from (towards) the Earth's axis of rotation, which will be in a direction that is upwards (downwards) and Southwards (Northwards).

FactChecker
I'm trying to get an understanding of the Coriolis effect, and I understand it when the wind moves longitudinally (North-South). Basically, the wind has a certain horizontal component of its velocity due to the rotation of the Earth, and as it moves North or South the rotation of the Earth changes and so the wind's relative horizontal component of its velocity changes. I understand all this, but too many a time I have seen the effect explained, this nuance is completely neglected. Does the Coriolis effect still occur when wind moves horizontally?
In books of classical mechanics the Coriolis effect is explained or over-garnished with math. My intuitive perseption is simple. It is a constant phenomenon induced solely by the rotation of our planet which is very contant. The atmosphere is a contouring space whose density varies, decreasing from the average level of seas/oceans to stratosphere. Inasmuch as the % of empty space between the atoms/molecules augments with the hight, their self-anchorage/linkage inexorably diminishes with altitude. Let's compare the global volume of air, to a huge soup more dense/sticky at its bottom whilst more diluted at its top. It results actually in a remarquable slower linear speed of the roof/top, i.g. above the equatorial circle. At the equator, the Earth's crust, the oceans' water & the air, turn at three different angular speeds, also at three linear speeds. But exactly at the Poles, the air gets no delay whatsoever. Since the big soup is somewhat aqueous near the surface of the Earth, it always try to make up with the time it had lost, drawing continually some mass of air from the tropical and the sub-polar areas, so as to create some normal/common north-western winds at north emisphere. In south hemisphere, on the contrary, most of the time and in greater annual volume, the average migrating mass of air comes from the south-west. _________________________________________________ The other winds have natural or human-activities causes. They, erratic and variable in power, interfer with the winds induced by the continuous Coriolis' effect. The angle of Coriolis' effect varies from horizontal orientation in Ecuador, ... to about 45 degrees in the state of Georgia, ... to, in very weak power, about 90 % in Alaska. The latter continental area accumulates more coldness than any polar sea; thus the north-westhern winds in the Prairies & center of Canada, are much colder in wintertime than under sames latitudes in other places of north hemisphere, e.g. Belgium, England, Germany, Japan.

By horizontally, I presume you mean moving along a line of latitude. The answer is yes. If the wind is blowing towards the West (East), the Coriolis effect will push it slightly away from (towards) the Earth's axis of rotation, which will be in a direction that is upwards (downwards) and Southwards (Northwards).
Could you please give a source I could look at or an explanation as to why this is true and why my way of thinking about it isn't adequate?

andrewkirk
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Could you please give a source I could look at or an explanation as to why this is true and why my way of thinking about it isn't adequate?
The Wikipedia article on Coriolis is good. This section of it sets out the formula for the Coriolis Acceleration. It's twice the negative of the vector cross product of the Earth's angular velocity vector with the linear velocity vector of the wind.

theBin
The Wikipedia article on Coriolis is good. This section of it sets out the formula for the Coriolis Acceleration. It's twice the negative of the vector cross product of the Earth's angular velocity vector with the linear velocity vector of the wind.
Beautiful! It is a clear and relatively short formula. No abracadabra nor mathematic abstractions combined with complex analysis. Thanks.

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