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Isaac M. Held

Abstract

Some of the advances of the past century in our understanding of the general circulation of the atmosphere are described, starting with a brief summary of some of the key developments from the first half of the twentieth century, but with a primary focus on the period beginning with the midcentury breakthrough in baroclinic instability and quasigeostrophic dynamics. In addition to baroclinic instability, topics touched upon include the following: stationary wave theory, the role played by the two-layer model, scaling arguments for the eddy heat flux, the subtlety of large-scale eddy momentum fluxes, the Eliassen–Palm flux and the transformed Eulerian mean formulation, the structure of storm tracks, and the controls on the Hadley cell.

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