What is Coriolis Force?

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

The Coriolis force is an apparent or imaginary force that acts on objects already in motion. One such example is the Earth’s rotation which causes the Coriolis effect in the form of wind deflection. The Coriolis effect explains the deflection of air to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The concept was mentioned in an academic paper in 1835 by a French scientist named Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis.

Table of content

  • 1. Definition of Coriolis Force (more)

Definition of Coriolis Force

The Coriolis force, named after the French scientist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis, also called Ferrell’s law, is an apparent, inertial, and imaginary force caused by the motion of an object within a frame of reference. It states that when Newton’s laws of motion are to be used with reference to a rotating body, an inertial force will act on a counterclockwise rotating body to the right and a clockwise rotating body to the left.

  • The Coriolis force explains the force caused by the Earth’s rotation.
  • In the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth, deflection occurs to the right and left, respectively, due to motion.
  • This deflection is dependent on wind velocity. It shares a directly proportional relationship where the deflection will also be high if the velocity is high.
  • Wind velocity depends on the pressure gradient force, where the greater the pressure gradient force, the greater the velocity and, therefore, the greater the deflection.

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