The Earth's rotation means that we experience an apparent force known as the Coriolis force. This deflects the direction of the wind to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. This is why the wind-flow around low- and high-pressure systems circulates in opposing directions in each hemisphere.

The Coriolis effect was described by the 19th-century French physicist and mathematician Gustave-Gaspard de Coriolis in 1835. He formulated theories of fluid dynamics through studying waterwheels, and realized the same theories could be applied to the motion of fluids on the surface of the Earth.