Coriolis Effect


The Coriolis effect is the apparent acceleration of a moving body on or near the Earth due to the Earth’s rotation. The Coriolis effect is an essential determinant of wind direction on a global scale. The purpose of this experiment is to replicate the Coriolis Effect of the Earth.

Coriolis Effect Experiment


To demonstrate the effect of Coriolis effect on Earth’s atmosphere and weather.

Materials Required:

  1. Rotating Platform
  2. Water
  3. Food Colouring
  4. Paper Cup
  5. Crushed Ice
  6. Pushpin
  7. Science Journal
  8. Aluminium Pie Pan


The Earth completes a rotation every twenty-four hours. The Earth’s surface rotates at the rate of 1,600 km/hr at the equator. The speed of rotation at the poles is nearly 0 km/hr. Concluding, we can say that the Earth’s rotation is faster at the equator than at the poles.

The variation in speed in the rotation can be felt in a merry-go-round that is spinning very fast. You will notice that it is difficult to hang on when you are seated at the outer edge of the merry-go-round. On the contrary, if you move towards the centre of the merry-go-round, it requires no effort to hang on because the outer edge is moving much faster than the centre-most part.


  1. Fill the Aluminium Pie Pan with water and place it on the rotating platform.
  2. With the help of the pushpin, drop four small pinholes and space them equally around the cup.
  3. Fill the ½ to ⅔ rd of the cup with crushed ice.
  4. Place the cup at the centre of the pan.
  5. Begin to rotate the rotating platform in a counterclockwise direction to simulate the Earth’s rotation.
  6. Add several drops of food colouring to the cup.
  7. Now, stop spinning the rotating platform.
  8. Write your observations in a diary.


The food colouring came out of the cup as the rotating platform started spinning. The liquid curved as it came out of the holes in the cup. This deflection of the food colouring is similar to that of large air masses on the Earth’s surface due to the Coriolis Effect. As the Earth rotates, the spinning deflects air in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How does the Coriolis Effect affect the movement of wind and air?

Wind and air are objects that freely move in the absence of obstacles. However, the Coriolis effect causes the path of a freely moving object to appear to curve. This is because Earth is rotating beneath the object.

Where does the Coriolis Effect not occur?

The Coriolis effect does not occur at the equator.

Where is the Coriolis Effect the strongest?

The Coriolis effect is most substantial at the equator.

What causes the Coriolis Effect?

Earth’s rotation causes the Coriolis effect.

What is the difference between Centrifugal Force and Coriolis Force?

The Coriolis force is proportional to the rotation rate, and the centrifugal force is proportional to the square of the rotation rate.

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