Why the ocean? Before college, I didn’t spend more than a week more than two miles from the ocean. We visited my grandparents in
The bathroom experiment: I was standing in the back and couldn’t see the draining sink clearly, but I saw Prof. Berman put his hand over the drain, fill the sink and allow the water to become still, and remove his hand. I believed the rest of the group when they said it moved counterclockwise. Since the other half of the class had a different experience (the water moved clockwise) and Prof. Berman insisted there was no sleight of hand, I’m guessing the hemisphere in which a sink is located has nothing to do with the direction it moves as it drains. Instead, it probably depends on factors such as the shape of the sink, whether or not the water is already moving when it drains, and in this case, the movement of Prof. Berman’s hand as he removed it from the water. I had a good view of the toilet, and it was clear that the water spiraled clockwise. Equally clear was the jet of water that was forced in the counterclockwise direction. I would guess that even if draining water moves in opposite directions in the two hemispheres, the force causing that distinction would easily be overcome by the toilet water jet. In the toilet, then, the water moved counterclockwise because of the direction of the jet: if the direction of the jet was changed, so would the direction of the draining water.
Based on our experiment, draining water shouldn’t move differently in the northern and southern hemispheres. Instead, the direction should depend on various factors involving the basin (shape, and the way that the plug is removed) and the water in it (whether or not it is already moving, and in what direction).
The sources I checked on the internet confirmed my thoughts. To be honest, I steered away from anything that looked like a legitimate source. If reputable sources are wasting time looking at how water drains in sinks and toilets worldwide, I don’t care to know about it. Based on previous posts, though, it appears they have, and they agree with Wikipedia and Snopes.com. Wikipedia, like Snopes, argues that although the Coriolis effect does exist, it has a smaller effect on water draining from sinks and toilets than, say, the shape of the bowl, temperature differentials within the water, and the direction in which water was added to the bowl. Snopes argues that the Coriolis effect has no effect on water draining from basins as small as sinks and toilets. Wikipedia, however, cites an article in Nature that demonstrated the Coriolis effect in a six foot tank in a temperature controlled room in