lect_06 - Frames of Reference Newtons laws of motion are...

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1 Frames of Reference Newton’s laws of motion are valid in a coordinate system that is fixed in space. A coordinate system fixed in space is known as an inertial (or absolute ) frame of reference. A coordinate system that is not fixed in space, such as one defined with respect to the rotating earth, is a noninertial frame of reference. Because we are interested in atmospheric and oceanic motions from an earth-based perspective, we must formulate the laws of motion in the noninertial frame of reference defined with respect to the rotating earth. Apparent Forces In an inertial reference frame, a body at rest or in uniform motion has no net forces acting on it. A body at rest or in uniform motion relative to the rotating earth is not at rest or in uniform motion relative to a coordinate system fixed in space. To reconcile Newton’s laws with the noninertial reference frame of the rotating earth, two apparent forces must be introduced. These are the centrifugal force and the Coriolis force.
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2 Centrifugal Force Consider an object that is whirled in a circular motion at the end of string. In an inertial frame of reference, this object is being accelerated toward the center of the circle.
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