Is the Coriolis Force Really Responsible for the Inertial Oscillation?

Dale R. Durran Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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It is demonstrated that the inertial oscillation is not produced exclusively by “inertial forces,” and that the inertial oscillation appears as oscillatory motion even when viewed from a nonrotating frame of reference. The component of true gravity parallel to the geopotential surfaces plays a central role in forcing the inertial oscillation, and in particular it is the only force driving the oscillation in the nonrotating reference frame.

It is demonstrated that the inertial oscillation is not produced exclusively by “inertial forces,” and that the inertial oscillation appears as oscillatory motion even when viewed from a nonrotating frame of reference. The component of true gravity parallel to the geopotential surfaces plays a central role in forcing the inertial oscillation, and in particular it is the only force driving the oscillation in the nonrotating reference frame.

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