Gulf Streams and Coriolis Forces

Seems our oceanographers have a dilemma  – North Atlantic ocean currents, or gyres as they known, seem to disappear at the end of their journey from the tropics to their northern latitude desitnations. These currents occur at the surface, originating from, say Florida, travel northwards towards England and Greenland, the famous Gulf Stream, and are then supposed to plunge downwards to the bottom. The explanation involves ‘thermohaline’ circulation and involves the warm waters at the equatorial regions being moved northwards by the Coriolis Force, where the currents reach the northern latitudes to lose their heat and presumably become more dense to sink and continue the circulation.

Except no one has to this day observed the downward currents. The cooler downward currents seem to all intents and purposes, have disappeared.

The first problem with the theory is the Coriolis Force or effect. Two independent objects, one in a rotating frame of reference, the other in some other frame of reference, here linear, for simplicity, produce the Coriolis effect. The crucial fact is that the effect is observed between two independent objects like the Earth and a meteor, or the Earth and a space shuttle or airplane.


Blue areas shows slower, yellow and red areas faster currents.

But no Coriolis effect is observed between the Earth and its atmosphere, or the Earth and its oceans, for these two apparent objects are actually the one and same object, the Earth; the oceans are not independent of the Earth, neither the atmosphere. Hence they cannot be described as independent objects and hence capable of producing a Coriolis effect.

So the atmospheric and ocean currents are not due to any Coriolis effect, or force as currently believed, (punned on purpose).

Is there another explanation? Yes and it involves Gerry Pollack’s Exclusion Zone Water, its electrical properties and plasma physics.

In the tropics heat (infra-red radiation) forms a +/-500m thick exclusion zone on top of the ocean. The water in this zone is proton poor, has a high pH, and is electrically negatively charged. Underneath it lies a thinner zone of proton rich water with lower pH due to the excess protons ejected from the overlying EZ layer. At the same time we also have a dynamic geomagnetic field, and free electric charges would thus tend to move along this magnetic field. Moving free electric charges, (whether its the -ve EZ water or the +ve boundary layer underneath the EZ, remains unknown, but one suspects its the EZ water that might be moving), in a liquid environment would tend to develop Birkeland currents, and hence tubes or gyres of flowing liquid water at the ocean surface. Given the nature of viscous flow, these oceanic Birkeland currents or gyres would develop into turbulent flow locally. Call it the behaviour of electric charged matter in the solid/plasma transition zone.

On reaching their destination in the sub-arctic latitudes, hence lowered temperature, decrease in electric charge to neutral water (bulk water) or a limit imposed by the geomagnetic field, and the currents appear to simply stop.

The point I want to make in this short post is that the Gulf Stream isn’t the result of warm water currents per se, but due to the flow of electrically charged water powered by an electromagnetic input, and when that EM input decreases, so too the flowing water. That’s why there are no downward plunging currents of water at the end of the Gulf Stream. The water is not being propelled by the fictitious Coriolis effect, or thermohaline effect but electromagnetically. The currents are thus an effect of the geomagnetic field and electrically charged liquids, here electrically conductive ocean water. (One suspects a similar explanation might be applied to the Pacific Ocean and the El Nino etc currents).

But those currents have nothing whatsoever to do with the Coriolis effect. Equally there is no such thing as a Coriolis force either.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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3 Responses to Gulf Streams and Coriolis Forces

  1. fabio says:

    Dear Dr. Hissink,
    Could the Coriolis force give a hand to the electromagnetic force in stream driving? Earth is not a rigid body, so its fluids may suffer the effect of the “complementary acceleration” (the third term that appears in the second derivative of movement equation which is called as the Coriolis acceleration). Whence the currents in Northern Hemisphere are clockwise while in Southern they are counter clockwise.


    • There is no Coriolis force, only a Coriolis effect caused by an observer on one object seeing an independent object moving in a different direction than the observer’s movement. The rotational motions observed in fluids, gases within the earth are due to Birkeland currents and the associated Lorentz force. Study Dr. Don Scott’s presentation ( and look at how the direction of the magnetic field reverses direction etc. While I am not saying this is a direct explanation of the phenomena you are questioning, you will see a similar pattern. The problem in understanding seems to be because we describe things in terms of “fields” and I wonder whether we should describe the phenomena in terms of electric current flows in order to improve our understanding.

      Also study the phenomena of the “water bridge” in which the annulus rotates, while the inner portion flows – the rotation is caused by the protons, or so we think. More work needs to be done on this phenomena.


  2. fabio says:

    “Coriolis effect caused by an observer on one object seeing an independent object moving in a different direction than the observer’s movement.”

    Yes, I forgot the derivative is applied in a kinematic equation and not in a dynamic equation, so that as Comte would say, Coriolis is descriptive, not explicative.


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