Earth’s Atmosphere Rotation

Earth’s atmosphere is part of the Earth. It practically follows Earth’s rotating motion like the rest of the Earth. Due to various factors, Earth’s atmosphere has relatively small and uneven movement relative to the surface. We call it ‘wind.’ The fastest wind ever recorded is about 408 km/h, relative to Earth’s surface.

Many misconceptions about Earth arise from the wrong idea that only Earth’s solid body is rotating, but the atmosphere is not. If it is true, then we should always feel the wind with the speed of 1674 km/h near the equator, or more than 4× the fastest wind ever recorded. We don’t feel such a wind, and thus we know our atmosphere is moving at practically at the same speed as Earth’s surface.

It is the reason we cannot hover using a helicopter or a hot air balloon and wait for the Earth’s to rotate and our destination is below us. Airplanes can land safely because the air is practically stationary relative to the ground. A projectile fired up vertically will fall at an approximately the same location due to this.

Flat Earthers claim the lack of such strong wind near the equator can only be explained if Earth is stationary, and they use the fact to disprove Earth is a rotating sphere. They are wrong. Such a condition can also be a result of the fact that our atmosphere is rotating at the same speed as the solid Earth body.

The fact that Earth’s atmosphere is rotating at the same speed is caused by friction between it and Earth’s surface, as well as the viscosity of the atmosphere. Not unlike the fact water closer to the riverbed is moving slower than water closer to the surface.