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Velocity in spherical polar coordinates

  1. Dec 25, 2015 #1
    I am looking at this derivation of velocity in spherical polar coordinates and I am confused by the definition of r, theta and phi.
    http://www.usna.edu/Users/math/rmm/SphericalCoordinates.pdf [Broken]

    I thought phi was the co latitude in the r,θ,∅ system and not the latitude. Of course the two are related through the equation 90 - colatitude.

    Would this change the derivation ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2015 #2


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    Hello weatherstudent, :welcome:

    It's a choice that looks convenient for looking at the world with its historically grown coordinnate system.
    Derivation doesn't change, but you want to be careful bringing in equations from other disciplines; you'll have a minus sign here and there, or the range of ##\phi## may cause confusion.

    Physicists and and mathematicians also have created their own booby traps by adapting different spherical coordinate systems, so why shouldn't meteorologists have yet another one :smile: !
  4. Dec 25, 2015 #3
    Thanks for that response and the welcome. :-)

    I wasn't referring to the convenience. Would substituting latitude for colatitude not change the equation as well ?
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