Ekman spiral in a tank.

Tank experiment showing (the effects of) the Ekman spiral.

One experiments that has been run in GEOF130 forever is the “Ekman spiral” experiment. A tank filled with water is spun up to solid body rotation on a rotating table.

Then the tank is slowed down. The resulting friction between the water body and the tank creates a bottom Ekman spiral.

In the lab, you can observe the Ekman depth by looking into the tank from the side:

I’m showing you here what they see, except that you have a big advantage: The camera was mounted on the rotating table, so instead of watching the tank rotate in front of you (which makes it really difficult to focus on features without getting seasick) you are actually rotating with the tank.

It is very difficult to capture on video or photo, but Pierre and I are doing our best.

Stay tuned for a nice Ekman movie coming up soon!

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