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date: 25 July 2021

p. 493. Atmospheric motionlocked

p. 493. Atmospheric motionlocked

  • Paul I. Palmer


Solar activity is the main driver for Earth’s large-scale atmospheric motion. Due to the Earth’s tilt, lower latitudes receive more energy from the Sun that they emit back to space, while the higher latitudes emit more radiation back to space than they receive directly from the Sun. The Earth is in approximate thermal equilibrium, suggesting that energy is being transported from low to high latitudes. The thermal gradient between the tropics and the poles drives the hemispheric circulation. But Earth is rotating and is composed of land and ocean. ‘Atmospheric motion’ outlines the effects of these factors on the atmosphere’s circulation patterns and describes key features such as jet streams and the Southern Oscillation.

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