Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Research article
 | Highlight paper
13 Jan 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 13 Jan 2023

The role of Rossby waves in polar weather and climate

Tim Woollings, Camille Li, Marie Drouard, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, Karim A. Elmestekawy, Momme Hell, Brian Hoskins, Cheikh Mbengue, Matthew Patterson, and Thomas Spengler

Data sets

NCEP-DOE AMIP-II Reanalysis (R-2) ( M. Kanamitsu, W. Ebisuzaki, J. Woollen, S.-K. Yang, J. J. Hnilo, M. Fiorino, and G. L. Potter

The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system ( D. P. Dee, S. M. Uppala, A. J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi, U. Andrae, M. A. Balmaseda, G. Balsamo, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, A. C. M. Beljaars, L. van de Berg, J. Bidlot, N. Bormann, C. Delsol, R. Dragani, M. Fuentes, A. J. Geer, L. Haimberger, S. B. Healy, H. Hersbach, E. V. Hólm, L. Isaksen, P. Kållberg, M. Köhler, M. Matricardi, A. P. McNally, B. M. Monge-Sanz, J.-J. Morcrette, B.-K. Park, C. Peubey, P. de Rosnay, C. Tavolato, J.-N. Thépaut, and F. Vitart

Materials for my contribution to "The role of Rossby waves in polar weather and climate" (v1.0.0) E. Dunn-Sigouin

Executive editor
The paper by Tim Woollings et al. provides first a theoretical summary of the role of Rossby wave dynamics for polar variability, regarding the large-scale polar flow conceptually as a superposition of geostrophic turbulence and Rossby wave propagation, emphasising the key role of isolated vortices at high latitudes. In a second part, the paper addresses how comparatively weak Rossby waves can be triggered from high latitudes in the presence of a relative vorticity gradient as a direct response to sea ice loss, which often manifests as a heat low. The paper provides a well written and much needed foundation for an active area of research.
Short summary
This paper investigates large-scale atmospheric variability in polar regions, specifically the balance between large-scale turbulence and Rossby wave activity. The polar regions are relatively more dominated by turbulence than lower latitudes, but Rossby waves are found to play a role and can even be triggered from high latitudes under certain conditions. Features such as cyclone lifetimes, high-latitude blocks, and annular modes are discussed from this perspective.