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Einstein's Tea Leaves and Pressure Systems in the Atmosphere
1.Albert Einstein, “The Cause of the Formation of Meanders in the Courses of Rivers and of the So‐Called Baer's Law,” in Die Naturwissenschaften 14(1926). Another classic paper by James Thomson (Lord Kelvin's brother) presented at the British Association Meeting, Dublin in 1857 also used a tea leaves example to support his ideas on mid‐latitude circulation. This lecture was posthumously published asJ. Thomson, “Bakerian Lecture. On the grand currents of atmospheric circulation,” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 183, 653–84 (1892).
2.Evidence for this pressure difference can be seen by observing the tilt of the free surface of the fluid that rides up the side of the container, resulting in high pressure in the periphery, low pressure toward the center.
3.In the fixed reference frame, the sum of all external forces provides the centripetal and Coriolis acceleration, while in a rotating reference frame, the sum of external forces on the object are balanced by the centrifugal and the Coriolis force. See the James Bond cartoon at xkcd.com/123/.
4.Since vt = −Ωr, then −2Ωvt = 2Ω2r and so is always positive, corresponding to an inward acceleration.
5.“Weather in a tank” website and project are at paoc.mit.edu/labguide/ and paoc.mit.edu/labguide/ekman.html. Readers and students can generate their own maps (similar to Fig. 2) for any day by going to www.paoc.mit.edu/labguide/ekman_atmos. html, clicking on the maps, and following subsequent directions.
6.John Marshall and Alan Plumb, Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics, An Introductory Text (Academic Press, 2008), p. 131.
7.The overwhelming influence of gravity in the vertical direction implies that the pressure variation is much larger in the vertical than it is in the horizontal.