How to make water move in two different ways…


The Ekman Spiral is a consequence of the Coriolis Effect and it was named after a man named Vagn Wilfred Ekman. Wind pushes the surface ocean water at a 45° angle from the direction of the blowing wind. The water below the surface will be impacted by the frictional properties of the moving surface water. Deeper layers move slower than each of the layers above it, until the movement becomes stationary at a depth around 100 meters (330 feet). Because the deeper layers of water move more slowly than the shallower layers, they tend to “twist around” and flow opposite to the surface current.

Like the surface water, however, the deeper water is deflected by the Coriolis effect-to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result, each deeper layer of water moves more slowly to the right, creating a spiral effect.

Here is a simple view from above:

~ Meteorologist Candice Boling and Intern Dallas Perry

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