In this article, we outline the role of the Earth's rotation in modifying currents in inland waters. The first investigation into these dynamics was conducted by Lord Kelvin in the nineteenth century, and the analytical model he developed is still useful in describing some of these dynamics today. More recently, theoretical developments, laboratory experimentation, and field measurements have allowed for the development of a relatively complete picture of the role of the earth's rotation in inland waters.
It is important to note that the effect of the earth's rotation on currents in stratified lakes is predominantly through periodic, oscillatory motions such as gravity waves and vorticity waves, which will be defined later. It is not possible to discuss one without the other, and so in this article we discuss both waves and the currents they induce simultaneously, remembering that waves can be identified through fluctuations in potential energy (typically measured as thermocline or isotherm oscillations) or kinetic energy (typically measured as currents). It is therefore essential that the reader has a good understanding of the material presented in the preceding article. We follow on from this material by investigating how the wind induces motion in large lakes, where the rotation of the earth cannot be ignored.
We begin by defining several parameters that will assist in describing the impacts of the earth's rotation. The most important parameter is the Coriolis parameter (or the inertial frequency)
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