Questions tagged [dynamics]

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32
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does Coriolis determine the rotation direction of a cyclone but not my drain?

It is a common misconception that Coriolis is responsible for the direction the water swirls down a toilet, tub or sink drain. E.g. does a toilet flush the other way in the southern hemisphere? (If ...
16
votes
1answer
5k views

What do quasi-geostrophic and ageostrophic mean?

I know that geostrophic flow means straight wind flow that is balanced by the pressure gradient and Coriolis forces. But what do quasi-geostrophic and ageostrophic mean specifically?
12
votes
1answer
409 views

How is the Rossby Radius used to determine that synoptic weather systems are 1000-2000km across?

In one of his presentations, Sandy MacDonald (of NOAA and ESRL) talks about the Rossby Radius of Deformation in connection with the size of synoptic weather systems: he describes how it sets the ...