On the Causes of Synoptic-Scale Eddy Heat Flux Decline

Mingyu Park, Sukyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The poleward heat flux by atmospheric waves plays a pivotal role in maintaining the meridional temperature gradient. A recent study found that in the Northern Hemisphere the heat flux by transient eddies has been weakening, and the study attributed this weakening to the smaller equator-to-pole temperature gradient caused by Arctic warming. During the period of 1979–2019 examined here, for the annual mean, both the synoptic-scale eddy heat flux and the temperature gradient had indeed declined. However, from October to April, the synoptic-scale eddy flux trend is more closely tied to the planetary-scale eddy heat flux trend, than to the temperature gradient trend. From June to August, the synoptic-scale eddy flux decline can be attributed to a warming of the high-latitude land areas. Therefore, a more comprehensive interpretation of the synoptic-scale eddy heat flux trend needs to include the dynamics of the planetary-scale waves and summer land warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL100963
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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