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Top 9 Computer Games and Video Clip Animations on the Coriolis


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the following list of videos and online simulations on the Coriolis Effect are worth a million. Even with limited understanding of wind deflection in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, anyone can enjoy these games and animations which demonstrate the wind patterns on earth. These meteorology lessons are also a great resource for teachers. Elementary earth science and advanced physics demonstrations on this phenomenon are provided to help answer the (seemingly) easy question - Why does the wind blow?


1. The University of West Florida Online Tutorial on Winds

The University of West Florida presents this interactive video animation tutorial on winds, the Coriolis Effect, and the effects of temperature on air circulation patterns. Included is a self quiz that teachers and homeschool parents could use to create a more elaborate assessment. Even if you are not in school, you can test your own knowledge! This site is short, to-the-point, and very effective as a learning tool.

2. NASA Quicktime Video on the Coriolis Effect

NASA presents a free video of the Coriolis Effect in Quicktime and Windows Media Player formats in this link. Also available is an open captioned version. Part of the Brain Bites series, this classroom video is only a minute long, easy to download, but ultimately very effective in teaching Coriolis.

3. The Coriolis Effect Definition - Animated for Understanding

The definition of Coriolis Force is shown in a full animation online. You may have to click to run the Active X control, but the animation clip is very explanatory.

4. Hadley Cell Circulation Online Animation

Idealized Hadley Cell circulation is shown in this animation making it a very effective tool in demonstrating wind circulation on earth.

5. Large Scale Global Wind Circulation Animation

A simple animation of global wind belts shows the large scale circulation patterns on the surface of the earth. Another slightly more advanced movie on global wind patterns and circulation could be used in conjunction.

6. The Effects of Coriolis on Airplane Flight

Two separate NASA animations show the effects of the Coriolis Effect on flight as two planes are launched from Alaska and Argentina. Also available is an animation showing the effects of wind deflection across an isobar or air pressure map.

7. Hurricane Rotation is Explained Using a Video on Coriolis

This 3 minute video targets a younger audience but demonstrates the effects of Coriolis on hurricanes. It shows and explains the counterclockwise rotation of hurricanes. Although the video features younger students, it really is adaptable to upper levels.

8. Foucaults Pendulum and the Coriolis Effect

Foucault’s Pendulum and the Coriolis Effect are demonstrated in a series of videos and examples. Although the examples and information are targeted towards physics, the movies play a key role in the set because they are able to be shown in slow motion. It also includes a video of the bands on Jupiter showing zonal flow due to differential rotation speeds.

9. Bad Coriolis: The Bathroom Sink

While not a video, this is a great link to understand why drains do not swirl in the opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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