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Multiple convective storms within a single cyclone on Saturn

Gunnarson, Jacob L. and Sayanagi, Kunio M. and Fischer, Georg and Barry, Trevor and Wesley, Anthony and Dyudina, Ulyana A. and Ewald, Shawn P. and Ingersoll, Andrew P. (2023) Multiple convective storms within a single cyclone on Saturn. Icarus, 389 . Art. No. 115228. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115228.

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Here we describe a cyclone at 50°N in the atmosphere of Saturn that was the source of eight separate convective storms. The storm clouds that appeared bright in scattered sunlight were identified using images from the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) and ground-based telescopes. The Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument detected Saturn Electric Discharge (SED) signals from the lightning within the storms, which were correlated to the sudden appearance of bright storm clouds in and surrounding the cyclone. Using the number and flash rate of SEDs we infer the duration and intensity of the storms. Although previous storms have been observed to erupt from within cyclones, the cyclone studied here is unusual in that it survived six storms before being disrupted by the seventh and strongest storm. An eighth storm occurred in the remnant of the disrupted cyclone. We conjecture that the anticyclonic circulation generated by the seventh storm was enough to overwhelm the cyclone's gradient wind balance.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gunnarson, Jacob L.0000-0001-9915-4330
Sayanagi, Kunio M.0000-0001-8729-0992
Fischer, Georg0000-0002-0431-2381
Barry, Trevor0000-0003-3246-9527
Ewald, Shawn P.0000-0002-1567-9154
Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:We would like to thank J. J. Blalock for his help and for proving his wind data. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers, whose constructive comments greatly improved this report. Cassini ISS images are available from the Cartography and Imaging Sciences Node ( of NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS). Cassini RPWS data ( is available through the Planetary Plasma Interactions Node ( of the PDS (see the calibrated low rate full resolution data with the data ID CO-V/E/J/S/SS-RPWS-3-RDR-LRFULL-V1.0). We also acknowledge use of the ACCIV wind-tracking software (Asay-Davis et al., 2009), WinJUPOS (, USGS ISIS 3 (, and the GNU parallel software (Tange, 2011) for processing images used in this study. NASA Cassini Data Analysis Program grants NNX15AD3392 and 80NSSC19K0894 to K.M.S.
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221024-125854800.16
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117547
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:01 Nov 2022 17:00
Last Modified:01 Nov 2022 18:23

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