In this article, we shall try to understand how Coriolis Effect is responsible for large-scale weather patterns. Also, we shall understand the causes and characteristics of the Coriolis Effect.

In the year 1835, French engineer-mathematician Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis described the Coriolis Effect. This effect occurs when the object is moving along a straight path when it is viewed from a non-fixed frame of reference. A fixed frame of reference is when the earth rotates at a fixed speed. Hence, when an object is viewed from the earth, it appears to lose its course because of the earth rotation.

What is the Coriolis Effect?

Coriolis Effect is when the planes and the air currents travel long distances around the earth, such that they appear to move at a curve instead of a straight line.

Cause of Coriolis Effect

The main cause for the Coriolis Effect to take place in the rotation of the earth. The earth rotates faster at the equator than it does at the poles. Earth is wider at the equator. 1600 kilometres per hour is the speed at which the earth rotates near the equator, while 0.00008 kilometres per hour is the speed at which the earth rotates near the poles.

Characteristics of Coriolis Effect

Now we know that the Coriolis Effect is a fictitious force that results due to the rotation of the earth. Also, it is the maximum at the poles and zeros near the equator. However, below are the few other characteristics of the Coriolis Effect:

  • Flying birds, planes, winds, and ballistic are the objects that get affected by the Coriolis Effect.
  • Only the wind direction is affected by the Coriolis Effect and not the wind speed.
  • Coriolis force and the axis of the moving object are perpendicular to each other.

What is Coriolis Force?

The invisible force that appears to deflect the objects is known as the Coriolis force. It is determined by the rate at which the object rotates and the mass of the object.

Coriolis Effect on Weather Patterns

Weather patterns such as trade winds and cyclones have the impact of the Coriolis Effect. In the Northern Hemisphere, the currents get deflected towards the right, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, the currents get deflected towards the left. This is because the fluids from the high-pressure systems pass to the low-pressure systems. To understand how Coriolis Effect impacts the ocean currents, aeroplanes, and human activities, stay tuned.