25 votes

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

The answer is the scale. The fluid movement of a sink has a much smaller curvature radius than the grand-scale movements of a hurricane. This curvature radius plays a big role on whether your movement ...
17 votes

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

This question can be answered with a scaling argument. Let us start with the momentum equation (Navier-Stokes) in a non-intertial reference frame (e.g. on the rotating earth) and assuming inviscid ...
  • 14k
13 votes

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

You can think about it like this: It takes one day for the earth to perform a full rotation (about 86k seconds), on the other hand, it takes a few seconds for your sink to drain (lets say 10 seconds). ...
6 votes
Accepted

How can oceanic Rossby waves move from East to West?

Yes it is. In fact Rossby waves always move westward in the absence of a zonal mean flow. Before going into detail lets try to explain this qualitatively. In a barotropic fluid the absolute vorticity ...
5 votes

Are the "polar vortex" and "cut-off lows" over/near the Great Lakes new phenomena?

The polar vortex The AMS glossary defines the polar vortex as: A planetary-scale mid- to high-latitude circumpolar cyclonic circulation, extending from the middle troposphere to the stratosphere. The ...
  • 14k
4 votes
Accepted

Why does the Northern polar vortex usually have two centers?

Northern Hemisphere The spatial structure of the polar vortex is determined by the stationnary waves. Stationary waves in the northern hemisphere are primarily modulated by stationary (surprise!) ...
4 votes
Accepted

Tornadoes meeting with an Immovable, Unbreakable, Large Cube

It depends. Take a look at this recorded presentation from the 27th Conference on Severe Local Storms by David C. Lewellen and the accompanying pre-print. This talk focuses on the effect of ...
  • 14k
3 votes
Accepted

When and where is the atmospheric greenhouse effect strongest?

It is strongest in the arctics,most radiation from this area will be long wave infra red and long wave infra red is absorbed and reflected by the climate gases in the atmosphere. A large part of the ...
  • 1,830
2 votes

What causes variation of seabed depth relative to fixed chart datum?

Your question is actually a three-part question in disguise, of which I cannot answer all parts, but let me tell you what I do know. Part 1: What causes variations in vertical position within the ...
  • 2,622
1 vote
Accepted

Why is potential vorticity so emphasized in technical work, but often neglected in maps on weather websites?

This one has not been answered for a long time and I am going to summarize what I wrote in the comments. If I understood OP's question correctly I believe it is asking why Potential Vorticity is not ...
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