arctic oscillation

an atmospheric circulation pattern in which the atmospheric pressure over the polar regions varies in opposition with that over middle latitudes (about 45 degrees N) on time scales ranging from weeks to decades; the oscillation extends through the depth of the troposphere, and from January to March, it extends upward into the stratosphere where it modulates in the strength of the westerly vortex that encircles the arctic polar cap region; the north atlantic oscillation and arctic oscillation are different ways of describing the same phenomenon.