Earth Science

Earth as a Planet

Coriolis Effect

Study Tip
Take note that the Coriolis effect is NOT a force! It’s really just an example of inertia.

The Coriolis Effect

  • The Coriolis Effect is an explanation for the phenomenon of how northern hemisphere winds and oceans look as if they are moving to the right and southern hemisphere winds and oceans look as if they are moving to the left.  
  • Both the winds and oceans are actually moving in straight lines, it’s just that the earth is rotating under them.  
  • The Coriolis Effect causes winds and currents to move in circles. The direction that the winds and currents spin in is determined by which hemisphere that they are in.















You can tell that this Hurricane is in the northern hemisphere
because of the direction that the wind circles in.
Study Tip
Take note that the Coriolis effect is NOT a force! It’s really just an example of inertia.
You can tell that this Hurricane is in the northern hemisphere because of the direction that the wind circles in.
Concept Check
  • Be able to explain how the Coriolis Effect occurs.