Owing to the presence of the Coriolis effect, the rotation of Earth has a multitude of surprising consequences that make the mechanics of the atmosphere or the oceans different from that of a fluid in a container. Since the Coriolis effect also captures the imagination of screenwriters, contributing to the continual exposure of students to bogus science, it is important to address these ideas in the physics classroom. This paper assumes that students are familiar with the Coriolis force acting on moving bodies in a rotating reference frame, and suggests a possible algebra-based approach. The information encoded in pressure maps is used to obtain wind velocity, and the result is applied in various contexts to learn about tilting sea surfaces, northern lights, and fluids flowing around phantom obstacles.
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PAPERS| February 01 2021
From Pressure Maps and Wind Velocity to Northern Lights and Other Fascinating Phenomena on the Rotating Earth
Phys. Teach. 59, 103–107 (2021)
Andrea Gróf; From Pressure Maps and Wind Velocity to Northern Lights and Other Fascinating Phenomena on the Rotating Earth. Phys. Teach. 1 February 2021; 59 (2): 103–107. https://doi.org/10.1119/10.0003462
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