So we know the sun heats the ground, which in turn heats the air in contact with the ground. This warmer air then rises, which leaves an area of low pressure at the surface.
Conversely, where there is cooler air it will sink and create high pressure at the surface.
This difference in pressure is called a Pressure Gradient, and it creates a force that causes air to flow from high pressure to low pressure. This is called the Pressure Gradient Force (PGF). The greater the difference in pressure, the stronger the force and the faster the air will flow (faster wind speed).
However, this rising and sinking air doesn’t flow in straight lines. The rotation of the Earth causes the air to rotate as it rises and sinks.
In the northern hemisphere, sinking air (high pressure) rotates clockwise and rising air (low pressure) rotates counter-clockwise. This is known as the Coriolis effect.
Here’s an overhead view of a high pressure system and a low pressure system, with the white lines showing wind direction and the colours showing pressure:
Remember: This only works with your right hand!
In the southern hemisphere, the direction of rotation is reversed