Theories of how Earth's surface climate may change in the future, of how it may have been in the past, and of how it is related to climates of other planets must build upon a theory of the general circulation of the atmosphere. The view of the atmospheric general circulation presented here focuses not on Earth's general circulation as such but on a continuum of idealized circulations with axisymmetric flow statistics. Analyses of observational data for Earth's atmosphere, simulations with idealized general circulation models, and theoretical considerations suggest how characteristics of the tropical Hadley circulation, of the extratropical circulation, and of atmospheric macroturbulence may depend on parameters such as the planet radius and rotation rate and the strength of the differential heating at the surface.
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