Astrophysics (Index)About

Coriolis force

(apparent force in a rotating frame of reference)

The Coriolis force is what seems like a force on a moving object when it is viewed from a rotating frame of reference. The object's motion appears to curve as if there where a sideways force. It is a factor in rotating fluids, e.g., atmospheres, stars, circumstellar disks, clouds in galaxies, etc. The apparent force is to the left if the rotation is clockwise, and to the right if it is counterclockwise. The apparent deflection of the object is called the Coriolis effect.

A beta plane is a planar approximation of a surface affected by the Coriolis force. It is used to model phenomena without all the complications of a spherical surface, and is presumably most useful for phenomena with a span much smaller than the size of the spherical surface

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
beta drift
frame of reference
general relativity (GR)
Hadley cell
inertial reference frame
inertial wave
Kelvin waves
Rossby number (Ro)
Rossby waves
superrotating wind
thermal wind
zonal flow