Polar Lows

Ian A. Renfrew, Denis E. Sergeev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Polar lows are subsynoptic-scale cyclones that develop over the polar and subpolar seas, poleward of the main polar front. They are typically less than 1000 km in scale and last just 12–48 hours, although can have associated surface wind speeds of over 30 m s−1 (60 knots). Polar lows are the most intense variety of polar mesoscale cyclones—systems that are ubiquitous in winter. The small size, transient lifecycle and geographic location of these cyclones makes them difficult to observe and forecast, therefore a maritime hazard. The occurrence of polar lows is influenced by environmental conditions and is expected to decline in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
ISBN (Print)9780124095489
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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