1
Coordinate Systems
•
To describe the
location in space of a
point in a fluid, a
coordinate system is
used.
•
A commonly used
coordinate system is
the rectangular, or
x,y,z system (also
known as Cartesian).
x
y
z
x
0
y
0
z
0
(x
0
,y
0
,z
0
)
•
Rectangular coordinates are often used to
describe motions of the atmosphere or ocean,
even though the earth is a sphere.
•
In so doing, one assumes that the x-y plane is
tangent to the surface of the spherical earth.
•
General convention for use of rectangular
coordinates:
x
is a measure of distance from some origin and
increases toward the east
.
y
is a measure of distance from some origin and
increases toward the north
.
z
is zero at surface of earth and
increases upward
.

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