The full-phase infrared light curves of low-eccentricity hot Jupiters show a trend of increasing dayside-to-nightside brightness temperature difference with increasing equilibrium temperature. Here, we present a three-dimensional model that explains this relationship, in order to provide insight into the processes that control heat redistribution in tidally locked planetary atmospheres. This three-dimensional model combines predictive analytic theory for the atmospheric circulation and dayside–nightside temperature differences over a range of equilibrium temperatures, atmospheric compositions, and potential frictional drag strengths with numerical solutions of the circulation that verify this analytic theory. The theory shows that the longitudinal propagation of waves mediates dayside–nightside temperature differences in hot Jupiter atmospheres, analogous to the wave adjustment mechanism that regulates the thermal structure in Earth's tropics.
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