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Polar vortex crystals: Emergence and structure

Siegelman, Lia and Young, William R. and Ingersoll, Andrew P. (2022) Polar vortex crystals: Emergence and structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119 (17). Art. No. e2120486119. ISSN 0027-8424. doi:10.1073/pnas.2120486119.

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Vortex crystals are quasiregular arrays of like-signed vortices in solid-body rotation embedded within a uniform background of weaker vorticity. Vortex crystals are observed at the poles of Jupiter and in laboratory experiments with magnetized electron plasmas in axisymmetric geometries. We show that vortex crystals form from the free evolution of randomly excited two-dimensional turbulence on an idealized polar cap. Once formed, the crystals are long lived and survive until the end of the simulations (300 crystal-rotation periods). We identify a fundamental length scale, L_γ = (U/γ)^(1/3), characterizing the size of the crystal in terms of the mean-square velocity U of the fluid and the polar parameter γ = f_p/a²_p, with f_p the Coriolis parameter at the pole and a_p the polar radius of the planet.

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URLURL TypeDescription ItemCode
Siegelman, Lia0000-0003-3330-082X
Young, William R.0000-0002-1842-3197
Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:© 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND). Contributed by William R. Young; received November 24, 2021; accepted March 7, 2022; reviewed by Freddy Bouchet, Michael Le Bars, and Peter B. Rhines. Published April 19, 2022. We thank Shawn Brueshaber for very helpful discussion of this problem. Navid Constantinou greatly assisted in model development and implementation. L.S. is supported by the Scripps Institutional Postdoctoral Program. W.R.Y. acknowledges support from NSF Grant OCE-048583. A.P.I. acknowledges support from NASA, Grant/Cooperative Agreement 80NSSC20K0555, and the Juno mission. High-end computing resources for the numerical simulations were provided by the University of California at San Diego and the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at the Ames Research Center. Data Availability: There are no data underlying this work. The code used to generate the runs have been deposited in GitHub, Author contributions: L.S. and W.R.Y. designed research; L.S. and W.R.Y. performed research; L.S. and W.R.Y. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; L.S. and W.R.Y. analyzed data; L.S., W.R.Y., and A.P.I. wrote the paper; and A.P.I. provided Jovian expertise. Reviewers: F.B., Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; M.L.B., Institut de Recherche sur les Phenomenes Hors Equilibre, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; and P.B.R., University of Washington. The authors declare no competing interest. This article contains supporting information online at
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Subject Keywords:geostrophic turbulence; pole; vortex crystal; vortex; Jupiter
Issue or Number:17
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220427-766900500
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114498
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 23:31
Last Modified:27 Apr 2022 23:31

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