Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-4-61-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-4-61-2023
Research article
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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

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Cited articles

Aizawa, T. and Tanaka, H.: Axisymmetric structure of the long lasting summer Arctic cyclones, Polar Sci., 10, 192–198, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2016.02.002, 2016. a
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Andrews, D. and Mcintyre, M. E.: Planetary waves in horizontal and vertical shear: The generalized Eliassen-Palm relation and the mean zonal acceleration, J. Atmos. Sci., 33, 2031–2048, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1976)033<2031:PWIHAV>2.0.CO;2, 1976. a
Barnes, E. A. and Hartmann, D. L.: Rossby Wave Scales, Propagation, and the Variability of Eddy-Driven Jets, J. Atmos. Sci., 68, 2893–2908, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-11-039.1, 2011. a, b
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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.