On Earth and other planets, the surfaces spherical shape and rotation lead to a Coriolis effect or force which causes large storms and weather systems to rotate (clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the Southern).

In a large Ringworld system (Either Niven style around a star or HALO style in an orbit) there would be a coriolis force but it would act much differently than on a planetary surface.

How would this affect large storm formation and what would be the rotation direction of the storm?


1 Answer 1


There is an effect where a ball tossed up will appear to move spinward and land farther spinward than you launched it from. This is because it takes a shortcut over the chord of the arc.

But, unlike with a planet, the spin does not vary with latitude. On a spinning globe, air moving towards a pole will be moving faster than the ground speed and will move west; air moving towards away from a pole will not keep up with the ground and will fall behind to the east.

On a ringworld, air moving towards or away from a rim will not see any difference in ground speed.

So, the rotation will not produce a spinning effect in large bodies of fluid like it does on Earth. A large storm will not show such angular momentum effects as it moves across latitudes or shrinks in extent.

You might not get storms that behave this way, at all. The way rising air is deflected spinward and sinking air antispinward is unlike what happens on planets, and will cause different phenomena.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice to see another ringworld myth laid to rest. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 4:45

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