Listed below are questions submitted by users of "From Stargazers to Starships" and the answers given to them. This is just a selection--of the many questions that arrive, only a few are listed. The ones included below are either of the sort that keeps coming up again and again, or else the answers make a special point, often going into details which might interest many users.
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I got deeper into the argument in response to a comment by Art Hobson of the U. of Arkansas, who tried to explain global warming to physics teachers in simple terms, invoking only vertical heat flow (p. 77 of The Physics Teacher, 48, January 2010)
But wait! There is more.
In following up this question further, I contacted Dr. Mark Schoeberl, who used to head the climate and meteorology lab (or some such group) at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, from where I retired in 2001. When I wrote that "S series of lessons" I consulted him, and we know each other to some extent. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire from NASA because of a bureaucratic conflict (he was probably acting conscientiously while the bureaucrats hurt NASA science, but arguing with them does not help). I wrote to him on the 3rd, he replied a week later and we also talked on the phone. I attach his letter as well.
He seems to echo your meteorologist friend, in saying that while the horizontal-flow argument is valid, there exist many more factors in a complicated global situation. For instance, while Rossby waves may be significant in transporting heat away from the tropical atmosphere, sea currents are also important--the Gulf Stream and the Japanese Current, for instance. He said that right now the atmosphere transfers more heat than the oceans, but that may change in unpredictable ways--for instance, not only can water (being denser) carry more heat , but increasing storminess in the tropics increases the depth to which the atmosphere heats seawater. I asked if the extent of Rossby waves has grown in the last 30 years, and he said, he did not know, it may not have been studied. He also suggested that the melting of polar sea-ice will cause much more of the sun's heat to be absorbed by the darker arctic ocean.
Anyway... you seem to have good ideas, so by all means, keep your interest!
It would probably work, except the analogy to gravity only holds for an astronaut not moving. A motion towards the center of rotation or away from it creates an added sideways force, as explained in my file. But it would work.
In 1966 NASA tried to create this effect with Gemini 11 and an independent Agena rocket, tied to it by a long tether (also on Gemini 12). See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_11 The problem is that a rotating space station with "artificial gravity" would require a lot of extra material and therefore extra cost. Also, it is not easy to observe either the ground or the sky from an observatory in constant rotation. Weight restrictions on a mission to Mars are even greater, so I don't think the design would be used on such a mission, either.
The magnetic field of the Earth slowly changes, and over geologic history it has reversed north-south polarity a fair number of times. Some people combine this with 2012 and predict the magnetic field will reverse, which is unbelievably fast (the present trend, if it continues, may have reversal in 1500 years), but whenever that happens it is likely, a more complex weaker field will persist, and it will have no clear effect on life on Earth, except maybe disorienting migrating birds. There exists a rather excessive movie on this too, "The Core."
For more, look at my educational web sites. The central links are from