How Earth's Rotation Affects Winds & Currents

Our planet's rotation produces a force on all bodies moving relative to theEarth. Due to Earth's approximately spherical shape, this force is greatest at the poles and least at the Equator.

The force, called the "Coriolis effect," causes the direction of winds and ocean currents to be deflected.

In the Northern Hemisphere, wind and currents are deflected toward the right, in the Southern Hemisphere they are deflected to the left.


Last Modified: Sat, Dec 18, 1998