Weather in a tank

Fluid dynamics plays a central role in determining Earth's climate. Ocean currents and eddies stir up contents from the deep, while atmospheric winds and weather systems steer temperature and moisture around the globe. As the planet spins on its axis, this rotation can significantly affect fluid motion. To fully understand how climate works, researchers at MIT say students must first understand how Earth's rotation affects winds and currents. "Rotating fluids are not intuitive," says Lodovica Illari, a meteorologist and senior lecturer in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). Since 2001, Illari and her colleague John Marshall, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, have worked to make rotating fluid dynamics more intuitive for undergraduate students studying weather and climate, using a demonstration aptly named "Weather in a Tank." 

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Video: Melanie Gonick


Melanie Gonick - MIT News