Why do cyclones rotate counterclockwise (i. e. to the left)

Why do cyclones rotate counterclockwise (i. e. to the left)

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Why do cyclones rotate counterclockwise (i. e. to the left) while the Coriolis force causes objects to be deflected to the right?

First, we have to figure out how a cyclone works, step by step:

— The cyclone’s center is a low pressure area. 

— The air moves from a high pressure area to a low pressure area. 

— Starting to move to the cyclone’s center, the air starts to rotate to the right et voila: the system is rotated counterclockwise. 

See below:

Picture with directions
Picture with directions
  • blue arrow - pressure gradient;
  • red arrow - the Coriolis acceleration;
  • green arrow- how the air will move. 

Let us remind you what the Coriolis force is. 

Any object moving on the Earth’s surface is deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left - in the Southern. That’s how the Coriolis force shows. 

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