THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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CYCLONE (Gr. κυκλῶν, whirling, from κύκλος, a circle), an atmospheric system where the pressure is lowest at the centre. The winds in consequence tend to blow towards the centre, but being diverted according to Ferrel’s law they rotate spirally inwards at the surface of the earth in a direction contrary to the movement of the hands of a watch in the northern hemisphere, and the reverse in the southern hemisphere. The whole system has a motion of translation, being usually carried forward with the great wind-drifts like eddies upon a swift stream. Thus their direction of movement over the British Islands is usually from S.W. to N.E., though they may remain stationary or move in other directions. The strength of the winds depends upon the atmospheric gradients. (See Meteorology.)
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