Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 7–8, pp 2355–2368 | Cite as

Three-pattern decomposition of global atmospheric circulation: part I—decomposition model and theorems

  • Shujuan Hu
  • Jifan Chou
  • Jianbo Cheng


In order to study the interactions between the atmospheric circulations at the middle-high and low latitudes from the global perspective, the authors proposed the mathematical definition of three-pattern circulations, i.e., horizontal, meridional and zonal circulations with which the actual atmospheric circulation is expanded. This novel decomposition method is proved to accurately describe the actual atmospheric circulation dynamics. The authors used the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data to calculate the climate characteristics of those three-pattern circulations, and found that the decomposition model agreed with the observed results. Further dynamical analysis indicates that the decomposition model is more accurate to capture the major features of global three dimensional atmospheric motions, compared to the traditional definitions of Rossby wave, Hadley circulation and Walker circulation. The decomposition model for the first time realized the decomposition of global atmospheric circulation using three orthogonal circulations within the horizontal, meridional and zonal planes, offering new opportunities to study the large-scale interactions between the middle-high latitudes and low latitudes circulations.


Horizontal circulation Meridional circulation Zonal circulation Three-pattern decomposition of global atmospheric circulation 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40805034 and 41475068), the Special Scientific Research Project for Public Interest (GYHY201206009) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (lzujbky-2012-13).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Atmospheric SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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