Does Water Drain in Different Directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres?

The idea that water will drain in different directions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres because of the Coriolis Effect is untrue. The Coriolis Effect is a consequence of the Earth's rotational patterns, which does cause hurricanes to twist in different directions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, but it does not affect the way water drains in sinks, tubs or showers. Water can drain clockwise or counterclockwise in either hemisphere. Differences in the way water drains are caused by the flow of water into a receptacle, as well as the receptacle's shape.

More about water and the Coriolis Effect:

  • Gaspard Gustav de Coriolis, an engineer, first wrote about the Coriolis Effect in 1835.

  • Water in toilets swirls out of the toilet in the direction in which it entered the toilet.

  • The Coriolis Effect is credited with drawing hurricanes away from the equator.

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Post 3

I think post1 was the victim of a practical joke. Post2 is 100 percent correct.

Post 2

In general, it is true that water can drain in either direction in either hemisphere. This is because the Coriolus effect is so tiny compared to all the other forces bearing on that water. But under extremely carefully controlled circumstances, the Coriolus effect can be reliably observed in a sink.

Post 1

Last year we visited Ecuador. While there, we visited a park on the Equator. The guide did a demonstration for us whereas he poured about one gallon of water into a portable sink sitting on the Equator line. He pulled the plug and the water went straight down. He moved the sink about three feet north of the line and poured the same amount of water in the sink. He pulled plug and water drained turning clockwise. Then, he moved the sink about three feet south of the line. Water drained counter-clockwise.

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