The Coriolis Effect - Amanda Hinkle

The Coriolis effect is directly responsible for the directions that affect ocean currents and the wind on Earth. Its basically just a deflection of the water and winds because of Earth's rotation, neither can move in a straight line as earth spins.
As seen in the picture below, objects deflect right in the northern hemisphere because earth spins the opposite direction, and vice versa with the southern hemisphere, where everything deflects left.

History of The Coriolis Effect

Gaspard Gustave de Coriolis was born May 21st 1792. Gaspard published a paper in 1835 on energy yield of machines like waterwheels. His paper took into consideration the supplementary forces present in a rotating frame of reference. He divided these forces into two categories. The second category becoming the basis for the "acceleration of Coriolis". By 1919 it was refered to as "Coriolis' force" but in 1920 it was just simply, "Coriolis force".


Application of The Coriolis Effect

The rotation of Earth on its axis causes winds to shift direction gradually. These winds are split into three belts in each hemisphere. The trade winds, the westerlies, and the polar winds; without knowing about these plane and boat travel would be near impossible. Planes travel with the winds or against them depending on the destination, and the same for boats in the currents as well, knowing these paths and their shifts because of the Coriolis effect is crucial.


  1. Beiser, A. (1988). Physical Science (2nd Edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
  3. Houghton D., David. (2010) The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol 21., Pg 158-9). Chicago: World Book.
  4. Walker G.C., James. (2010) The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol 4., Pg 1053). Chicago: World Book.
  5. Picture 1 from:
  6. Picture 2 from:

This WikiPage developed by Amanda Hinkle 2011FA