The Bath-Tub Vortex in the Southern Hemisphere


IT has long been thought that water draining from a tank would rotate counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, provided other influences were kept small compared with the influence of the rotation of the Earth. This idea has only recently been tested, by Shapiro in Watertown, Massachusetts, as part of a film on vorticity2–4, and later by Binnie in Cambridge, England1. Shapiro and Binnie both acquired confidence, after surmounting difficulties in their early experiments, that the counter-clockwise rotations observed in their later experiments were due to the rotation of the Earth.

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  1. 1

    Binnie, A. M., J. Mech. Eng. Sci., 6, 256 (1964).

  2. 2

    Shapiro, Ascher, H., film, Vorticity (Educational Services Inc., Watertown, Mass., 1961).

  3. 3

    Shapiro, Ascher, H., Nature, 196, 1080 (1962).

  4. 4

    Shapiro, Ascher, H., four-min film loop No. FM–15, The Bathtub Vortex (Educational Services Inc., Watertown, Mass., 1963).

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TREFETHEN, L., BILGER, R., FINK, P. et al. The Bath-Tub Vortex in the Southern Hemisphere. Nature 207, 1084–1085 (1965).

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