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Thread: Since the earth is spinning at roughly 1000 mph at the equator and the air can be perfectly still means the air around earth is spinning exactly with the earth.... What is making the air spin?

  1. #1 Since the earth is spinning at roughly 1000 mph at the equator and the air can be perfectly still means the air around earth is spinning exactly with the earth.... What is making the air spin? 
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    And.... Since the air around the earth must be spinning pretty much exactly with the earth's spin, shouldn't we see great tornadoes extending out from each pole at the axis of the spin?


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    Because "the atmosphere" isn't a monolithic whole.
    Since it's a gas then each "part" of it rotates at differing rates, depending on where on Earth it is.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy View Post
    And.... Since the air around the earth must be spinning pretty much exactly with the earth's spin, shouldn't we see great tornadoes extending out from each pole at the axis of the spin?
    Nope. It's all spinning together.

    There is a _slight_ amount of force involved, since when you go up (for example) you seem to slow down - you keep your original speed, but the air at that altitude is now moving faster. For things on our scale (airplanes and whatnot) it is so small it's not noticeable. For huge masses of air and water, those small forces, summed together, create the ocean currents and the global wind circulation (the Hadley cells and whatnot.)
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    Coriolis Force isn't strong enough for normal day to day observations, but pretty significant over larger scales.
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