Coriolis Effect and Travel Paths

Andrew G. and Ethan K. Block: Red

The Earth's rotatation causes the Coriolis Effect. All objects on Earth are are altered by this happening. The Coriolis Effect can be summed up by saying that it is the affect that Earth's rotation has on all loose materials on the planet. For example, how the rotation influences wind and water circulation. In the Northern Hemisphere winds bend to the right (clockwise) and so does water flow, while in the Southern Hemisphere winds and water flows bend to the left (counter clockwise).


- This video shows the affects of the Coriolis Effect directly on the equator and just a few feet into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
- Notice the differences in the ways the leaves move in the water in each position

Example of the Coriolis Effect in the Real World:

If a rocket was to be launched from the North Pole to a target directed somewhere on the Equator, the Coriolis Effect would come into play. If it took this rocket one hour to reach its target, in that our the Earth would have rotated 15 degrees from its previous position. The result of the rotation while the rocket is in flight will cause the rocket to land 15 degrees away from its original target. Without the Coriolis Effect the rocket would have landed directly on its target without being influenced by Earth's rotation (see diagram below).
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Travel Paths:

- Warm water powers hurricanes, the area of the Gulf Stream in the Gulf of Mexico is an example of one area of warm water that hurricanes often travel over
- Hurricanes start by the northwest coast of Africa as tropical waves. From there, they travel left across the Atlantic Sea to the east coast of North America
- In 2004 a hurricane did what was considered impossible. It took the rare path to South America and hit Brazil on the east coast
- In most occasions hurricanes stay near North America and travel up the east coast and occasionally head to the Azores near Europe
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Where Else To Review:

- Textbook: Chapter 28, Topics 8 and 9
- Class Notes on Coriolis Effect and Travel Paths of a Hurricane