GreenAlias wrote:If there are any scientist here I would be fascinated to learn how the system really works
Not a scientist as such, but in a former life, I used to design ducted fans. I got most of a Masters of Engineering by research out of it (but they don't give you the ticket unless you do the last bits and hand in a thesis )
So, I know some stuff about free-vortex flow in a cylindrical duct. Bits of air closer to the axis rotating faster than outside bits and all that.
But... when you start talking about a spinning Earth, your dealing with a fluid flow that has a solid boundary on one side (the surface of the planet), and effectively nothing on the other. Density changing with height (from air density down here to zero in space). Temperature changing with height. Heated and cooled by the sun as it goes around. All sorts of weird stuff, the effects of which I can't start to get my head around.
That's why I was being vague.
Prevailing winds do blow from West to East. Driven - in part - by the spin of the Earth. That much we know. That's on average, with a whole lot of perturbations and massive scales of turbulence thrown in to the mix.
Exactly how it's driven and how the weird variables play into it... I'm not sure. Winds at high altitudes are much faster than down here, so it's obviously not a free vortex. That may be a viscous effect on the surface. Might be... I don't know.
In simple terms, you spend longer in a plane coming from LA than you do going to LA from Melbourne.