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Dynamo Simulations of Jupiter's Magnetic Field: The Role of Stable Stratification and a Dilute Core

Moore, K. M. and Barik, A. and Stanley, S. and Stevenson, D. J. and Nettelmann, N. and Helled, R. and Guillot, T. and Militzer, B. and Bolton, S. (2022) Dynamo Simulations of Jupiter's Magnetic Field: The Role of Stable Stratification and a Dilute Core. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 127 (11). Art. No. e2022JE007479. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2022je007479.

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Understanding Jupiter's present-day interior structure and dynamics is key to constraining planetary accretion models. In particular, the extent of stable stratification (i.e., non-convective regions) in the planet strongly influences long-term cooling processes, and may record primordial heavy element gradients from early in a planet's formation. Because the Galileo entry probe measured a subsolar helium abundance, Jupiter interior models often invoke an outer stably stratified region due to helium rain. Additionally, Juno gravity data suggest a deeper, potentially stratified dilute core extending halfway through the planet. However, fits to Jupiter's gravitational data are non-unique, and outstanding uncertainty over the equations of state for hydrogen and helium remain. Here, we use high-resolution numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations of Jupiter's magnetic field to place constraints on the extent of stable stratification within the planet. We find that compared to traditional interior models, an upper stably stratified layer between 0.9 and 0.95 Jupiter radii (R_J) helps to explain both Jupiter's dipolar magnetic field and zonal winds. In contrast, an extended dilute core that is entirely stably stratified (no convective layers) yields significantly worse fits to both. However, our models with extended deep stratification still generate dipolar magnetic fields if an upper stratified region is also present. Overall, we find that a planet with a dilute core i.e., strongly stably stratified is increasingly challenging to reconcile with Jupiter's magnetic field and winds. Thus if a dilute core is present, alternative modalities such as a fully convective dilute core, a complex multilayered interior structure, or double diffusive convection may be required.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Moore, K. M.0000-0003-3162-437X
Barik, A.0000-0001-5747-669X
Stanley, S.0000-0003-0469-4401
Stevenson, D. J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Nettelmann, N.0000-0002-1608-7185
Helled, R.0000-0001-5555-2652
Guillot, T.0000-0002-7188-8428
Militzer, B.0000-0002-7092-5629
Bolton, S.0000-0002-9115-0789
Additional Information:KMM acknowledges funding and support from the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship in Planetary Astronomy through the Heising-Simons Foundation. TG acknowledges support from the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales. This work was carried out at the Advanced Research Computing at Hopkins (ARCH) core facility (, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant OAC 1920103. This project was also conducted using computational resources at the Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center (MARCC) and the Hopkins High Performance Computing Center (HHPCC). We thank Dr. Lucia Duarte for helpful discussions. Data Availability Statement. The 3D magnetohydrodynamic (dynamo) modeling code used in this study, MagIC, is available at:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Heising-Simons Foundation51 Pegasi b Fellowship
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221219-417430800.18
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118492
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:19 Jan 2023 18:19
Last Modified:19 Jan 2023 18:19

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