The idea that Earth spins on its axis is probably something you learned in science class as a kid and have never forgotten.
The question is whether or not your instructors brought up the question of which way Earth spins and whether or not you retained that information.
In reality, there is more than one right answer. It’s relative to where you are on Earth. When viewed from above, the North Pole appears to be spinning clockwise as the Earth rotates counterclockwise.
If you were at Earth’s surface and looking up at the South Pole, you would say that the rotation was clockwise.
Earth Rotates Counterclockwise
Because Earth spins counterclockwise around its axis, the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west (left).
As a result, the southern hemisphere rotates clockwise (top left) whereas the northern hemisphere revolves counter-clockwise (top right) (bottom right).
The mobility of items in the northern and southern hemispheres is affected differently by Earth’s rotation.
When air tries to reach a hurricane’s (or any low pressure center’s) centre, it is deflected to the side by the other air already there, causing it to spiral inward.
When there is a discrepancy in the air’s driving forces, the result is a net spin around the area of lowest pressure. Coriolis force generates this exact effect.
In the northern hemisphere, it has the effect of deflecting moving things to the right, therefore any air mass heading toward the hurricane will be steered off to the right.
Why Does the Earth Rotate Counterclockwise?
The explanation for Earth’s counterclockwise (i.e. west-to-east) rotation is murkier.
Our solar system was produced when a cloud of dust and gas collapsed—possibly because another star exploded near it.
And the stuff, due in part to gravity, reoriented itself into a star and a series of planets (plus moons, asteroids, and so forth) (plus moons, asteroids, and so forth).
Rotation of the star and its environs is a byproduct of star formation, with the direction of rotation depending on factors at play during the collapse of the cloud.
Newborn stars’ final angular momentum and spin orientation are affected by “factors such as turbulence induced by supernova shock waves and magnetic effects.
That occur as regions of the cloud start breaking into stars,” Alison Klesman wrote in Astronomy. Ultimately, our solar system settled on a prograde (counterclockwise) spin orientation.
The Earth, the sun, and most of the other planets all spin in that direction. Venus, meanwhile, spins clockwise; and Uranus rotates on its side.
Some researchers have speculated that their spin orientation formerly matched ours.
ut was thrown off by a catastrophic event such as a large collision or a succession of smaller ones. Yet, we still have a long way to go before we know the whole truth.
Using the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model, they reversed the Coriolis effect.
An unseen force that pushes against things passing over a spinning planet’s surface, to model what would happen if Earth were to spin backward (retrograde instead of prograde).
In a description of the work that is being prepared for publication, the scientists explained that once the changes were implemented and the model showed Earth spinning in the opposite direction.
They watched the changes that emerged in the climate system over several thousand years, as feedback among the rotation, atmosphere, and ocean went to work on the planet.
Overall, the researchers discovered that a backward-spinning Earth was a greener Earth.
Global desert coverage dropped from roughly 16 million square miles (42 million square kilometres) to around 12 million square miles (31 million square km) (31 million square km).
Grass began to grow in half of the formerly desert lands, while trees took over the other half.
Vegetation on this globe, scientists found, was able to store more carbon than that of our forward-spinning Earth.
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