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What Would Happen If the Earth Spun Backward?

Stashed in: Ecology!, Climate

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The more consequential result of a reverse spin, Gibbs explains, would be to upend the pattern of the Coriolis effect, which "transfers the spin of the earth into the motion of winds around a weather system." The Coriolis effect is why northern-hemisphere storms turn counterclockwise and cyclones, in the southern hemisphere, go clockwise. The jet stream too would reverse, and that would dramatically change weather patterns. He explains:

This river of high altitude, fast-moving air steers the mid-latitude depressions across the planet from west to east. Swirling masses of cloud and rain are pushed from Japan to the Pacific coast of America, and from Newfoundland to Cornwall. Reverse the flow and climate changes dramatically. The British Isles loses the moderating effect of weather from the Atlantic. A harsher continental climate becomes more likely, with a predominantly easterly flow bringing bitter Siberian winds in winter and hot, dry weather in summer. Goodbye green and pleasant land.

So much for Superman reversing the earth's spin to turn back time...

Heh heh.

Why not put this here?

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