Question #10e99

1 Answer
Sep 10, 2016

Coriolis effect deflects winds.


I am still unsure what exactly is meant by "types" of winds, so I will just explain Coriolis effect.

When air pressures are unequal between two areas there is a pressure gradient. This gradient causes the air to move from the area of higher pressure to the area of lower pressure. We refer to the force that moves that air as the pressure gradient forces, and the moving air as wind.

Now since the Earth is spinning, and the area of low pressure is on the surface of the Earth, the result is the low pressure area is moving. Since the pressure gradient force moves the air from high to low pressure, and since the low pressure is moving, the air is deflected to move to the new location of the low pressure.

In order to illustrate this imagine a paper plate. Place a marker at the center of the paper plate and drag it to the edge and you will get a straight line. If you do the same motion while someone turns the plate, even though you are applying the same force in the same direction, the resultant line will be curved. This is what the Coriolis effect is, and also why we refer to it as an APPARENT force and not an actual force, since there is no change in the force applied.

The end result is the wind is deflected to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. There are additional forces at work but this should answer any question you have about Coriolis.