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Thread: Coriolis Effect on Atmospheric Currents

  1. #1 Coriolis Effect on Atmospheric Currents 
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    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    I realize the coriolis effect has a substantial influence on the neutral particles in the low altitude atmosphere (0->~100km), causing winds and such.

    But..
    I would like to know if the earths rotation (coriolis force) influences atmospheric current systems, such as the magnetopause current, ring current, field aligned currents, and/or the cross-tail current sheet

    I realize these currents are the flow of positively charged ions. (obviously equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the flow of electrons). Since the mass of the moving ions are so much greater than the mass of moving electrons, does the coriolis effect have more effect on the positive ions, and thus have an influence on the magnitude and direction of the current.


    [The magnetopause current for example, (~10-15 earth radii towards the sun) flows both directions around earth.
    Also the ring current, (~3-5 earth radii in altitude) flows east to west around the equator. ]

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    Or can the coriolis effect just be neglected for these current systems because they exist at such high altitudes where the density of the air is small, and thus the coriolis force is insignificant on the flow of these high altitude particles??

    Any information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


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