There is a reason that hurricanes and tornadoes follow the same pattern year after year and turn up in the same locations: the Coriolis Effect. Named for Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis (21 May 1792 – 19 September 1843). Coriolis described the movements and relative changes to rotating bodies and masses in his 1835 paper Sur les équations du mouvement relatif des systèmes de corps (On the equations of relative motion of a system of bodies). Although Coriolis was not considering specifically large systems such as the the earth and the earths atmosphere, it wasn’t long before his system was applied to weather patterns and water. The illustration shows how large bodies (typically high or low pressure systems) are affected by the rotation of the earth.
You can read more about the Coriolis Effect and see my post on NPR’s Science Friday website (including a collection of toilets flushing around the world, including the South Pole!) here or by clicking on the image.
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Image courtesy NOAA.