Ekman spiral

The Ekman spiral occurs as a consequence of the Coriolis effect. When surface water molecules are moved by the wind, they drag deeper layers of water molecules below them. Like surface water, 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 successively deeper layer of water moves more slowly to the right or left, creating a spiral effect.


The Ekman spiral occurs as a consequence of the Coriolis effect.

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