You are on page 1of 1

Buys-Ballot's law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Facing the wind, high-pressure area (H) is on your left-hand side on the north
hemisphere.
In meteorology, Buys-Ballot's law may be expressed as follows: In the Northern
Hemisphere, stand with your back to the wind; the low pressure area will be on
your left. In other words, wind travels counterclockwise around low pressure
zones in the Northern Hemisphere. It is approximately true in the higher
latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and is reversed in the Southern
Hemisphere, but the angle between barometric gradient and wind is not a right
angle in low latitudes.
This rule, which was first deduced by the American meteorologists J.H. Coffin
and William Ferrel, is a direct consequence of Ferrel's law. The law takes its
name from C.H.D. Buys-Ballot, a Dutch meteorologist, who published it in the
Comptes Rendus, November 1857. While William Ferrel theorized this first,
Buys-Ballot was the first to provide an empirical validation.