Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 31–43

A theory for polar amplification from a general circulation perspective


DOI: 10.1007/s13143-014-0024-7

Cite this article as:
Lee, S. Asia-Pacific J Atmos Sci (2014) 50: 31. doi:10.1007/s13143-014-0024-7


Records of the past climates show a wide range of values of the equator-to-pole temperature gradient, with an apparent universal relationship between the temperature gradient and the globalmean temperature: relative to a reference climate, if the global-mean temperature is higher (lower), the greatest warming (cooling) occurs at the polar regions. This phenomenon is known as polar amplification. Understanding this equator-to-pole temperature gradient is fundamental to climate and general circulation, yet there is no established theory from a perspective of the general circulation. Here, a general circulation-based theory for polar amplification is presented. Recognizing the fact that most of the available potential energy (APE) in the atmosphere is untapped, this theory invokes that La-Niña-like tropical heating can help tap APE and warm the Arctic by exciting poleward and upward propagating Rossby waves.


Polar amplification general circulation equable climate 

Copyright information

© Korean Meteorological Society and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of MeteorologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations