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Does air move clockwise round an area of high pressure, and anti-clockwise around low pressure? I know that air moves from high to low pressure areas, but is it to do with the correolis effect that it doesn't just go straight from high to low pressure?

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  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    correct for which way the wind blows round highs and lows and that Coriolis is involved, the spin of the earth.but try our Guides for more info and help?

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  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Location: Edinburgh

    The difference in pressure between the high and low pressure dictates how fast this wind is going to be, this difference is the pressure gradient force. The Coriolis force balances the pressure gradient force. Air does try to move straight from high to low pressure but the earth is rotating, so everything that’s moving in the northern hemisphere gets pulled to the right by the Coriolis force. So the air starts to move round the area of high or low it is still moving down the pressure gradient from high to low just not in a straight line, in fact its running parallel to the isobars.

    Because of this you can use Buys-Ballots law (1857) if you are standing in the northern hemisphere and your back is to the wind low pressure is on your left.

    It’s also why you tend to get a lack of hurricanes in the 10 degrees or so to the equator because the further you are away from the equator the stronger the Coriolis force and hurricanes need it to start spinning, the lack of force near the equator tends not to be strong enough to get them to spin up.

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