Pick Wayne's Brain

August 17, 2013

Your Coriolis Is Showing

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:09 AM

It occurred to me that the reason we get storms in the East and droughts in the West is because we have the Atlantic Ocean “sloshing” up against our shores, bringing more hurricanes and precipitation to our side of the country, while the West doesn’t have an ocean of water sloshing upon it. Likewise, the Pacific Ocean brings typhoons to the Eastern shores of Asia, while Europe gets droughts because there isn’t as much water coming its way. Okay, so I’m not the first one to notice that.

The oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide because of the fossil fuels we burn. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, which reflects heat back toward the Earth. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more carbon dioxide falling in to the oceans. Which means the oceans are warmer. Warmer oceans give more energy to the storms that are produced. (There aren’t necessarily more storms being produced, but the storms that are being produced are stronger.) And we get, every once in a while, a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandy. Except we’re no longer getting them “every once in a while,” we’re getting them all the time. How many times have you heard we were getting “the Storm of the Century”? How many centuries have you been alive?

This got me thinking about the Coriolis Effect. Here’s an interesting short explanation of it and how it affects the weather. Enjoy.


1 Comment

  1. watching that brought this to mind….why a space fight is always launched to the east:

    Even while at rest on the Earth’s surface, objects are actually moving due to the Earth’s rotation. If a rocket launches East with Earth’s rotation, it will get a free boost of extra velocity. At the equator (0 degrees latitude), an object rotates with the Earth at 1,035 miles per hour. As an object is moved closer to the poles, the speed of the spinning decreases. At the Kennedy Space Center (28.5 degrees N latitude) where the space shuttles are launched, objects rotate at about 911 miles per hour. If the space shuttles are launched eastward, they get a free 911 mph boost towards the 17,500 mph required to reach orbit. This means the shuttle can use less fuel and carry more payload. If a space shuttle launched westward, it would need to travel 911 mph faster to fight against the rotation of the Earth.

    Comment by fatherbob — August 23, 2013 @ 1:19 PM

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