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Vortices are common features in fluid flows, They have important implications for the flight of airplanes where they are generated by boundary layer processes. Wing tip vortices are a limiting factor for the frequency with which airplanes can take off.

An example of a much larger scale vortex is a hurricane. Flow at these scales is strongly affected by the earth's rotation: the flow around a hurricane is counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Hurricane Isabel

Hurricane IsabelSeptember 18, 2003

Cessna Downwash

Cessna DownwashPhoto Credit: Gallery of Fluid Motion, Physics of Fluids A, Vol. 5, September 1993. Contribution by Hiroshi Higuchi (Syracuse University).

Student making vortices in a rotating tank at the Fluid's lab

spin tank replace