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  1. Abstract Polar vortices are common planetary-scale flows that encircle the pole in the middle or high latitudes and are observed in most of the solar system’s planetary atmospheres. The polar vortices on Earth, Mars, and Titan are dynamically related to the mean meridional circulation and exhibit a significant seasonal cycle. However, the polar vortex’s characteristics vary between the three planets. To understand the mechanisms that influence the polar vortex’s dynamics and dependence on planetary parameters, we use an idealized general circulation model with a seasonal cycle in which we vary the obliquity, rotation rate, and orbital period. We find that there are distinct regimes for the polar vortex seasonal cycle across the parameter space. Some regimes have similarities to the observed polar vortices, including a weakening of the polar vortex during midwinter at slow rotation rates, similar to Titan’s polar vortex. Other regimes found within the parameter space have no counterpart in the solar system. In addition, we show that for a significant fraction of the parameter space, the vortex’s potential vorticity latitudinal structure is annular, similar to the observed structure of the polar vortices on Mars and Titan. We also find a suppression of storm activity during midwinter that resembles the suppression observed on Mars and Earth, which occurs in simulations where the jet velocity is particularly strong. This wide variety of polar vortex dynamical regimes that shares similarities with observed polar vortices, suggests that among exoplanets there can be a wide variability of polar vortices. 
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  2. Abstract Zonal jets are common in planetary atmospheres. Their character, structure, and seasonal variability depend on the planetary parameters. During solstice on Earth and Mars, there is a strong westerly jet in the winter hemisphere and weak, low-level westerlies in the ascending regions of the Hadley cell in the summer hemisphere. This summer jet has been less explored in a broad planetary context, both due to the dominance of the winter jet and since the balances controlling it are more complex, and understanding them requires exploring a broader parameter regime. To better understand the jet characteristics on terrestrial planets and the transition between winter- and summer-dominated jet regimes, we explore the jet’s dependence on rotation rate and obliquity. Across a significant portion of the parameter space, the dominant jet is in the winter hemisphere, and the summer jet is weaker and restricted to the boundary layer. However, we show that for slow rotation rates and high obliquities, the strongest jet is in the summer rather than the winter hemisphere. Analysis of the summer jet’s momentum balance reveals that the balance is not simply cyclostrophic and that both boundary layer drag and vertical advection are essential. At high obliquities and slow rotation rates, the cross-equatorial winter cell is wide and strong. The returning poleward flow in the summer hemisphere is balanced by low-level westerlies through an Ekman balance and momentum is advected upward close to the ascending branch, resulting in a midtroposphere summer jet. 
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