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Shear Instabilities as a Probe of Jupiter’s Atmosphere

Bosak, Tanja and Ingersoll, Andrew P. (2002) Shear Instabilities as a Probe of Jupiter’s Atmosphere. Icarus, 158 (2). pp. 401-409. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1006/icar.2002.6886.

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Linear wave patterns in Jupiter's clouds with wavelengths strongly clustered around 300 km are commonly observed in the planet's equatorial atmosphere (F. M. Flasar and P. J. Gierasch, 1986, J. Atmos. Sci.43, 2683–2707). We propose that the preferred wavelength is related to the thickness of an unstable shear layer within the clouds (A. P. Ingersoll and D. W. Koerner 1989, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc.21, 943). We numerically analyze the linear stability of wavelike disturbances that have nonzero horizontal phase speeds in Jupiter's atmosphere and find that, if the static stability in the shear layer is very low (but still nonnegative), a deep vertical shear layer like the one measured by the Galileo probe (D. H. Atkinson et al. 1998, J. Geophys. Res.103, 22911–22928) can generate the instabilities. The fastest growing waves grow exponentially within an hour, and their wavelengths match the observations. Close to zero values of static stability that permit the growth of instabilities are within the range of values measured by the Galileo probe in a hot spot (A. Seiff et al. 1998, J. Geophys. Res.103, 22857–22889). Our model probes Jupiter's equatorial atmosphere below the cloud deck and suggests that thick regions of wind shear and low static stability exist outside hot spots.

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Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Additional Information:© 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). Received June 4, 2001; revised February 28, 2002.
Subject Keywords:Jupiter; jovian atmosphere; atmospheric dynamics; atmospheric structure
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121212-153412068
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Official Citation:Tanja Bosak, Andrew P. Ingersoll, Shear Instabilities as a Probe of Jupiter's Atmosphere, Icarus, Volume 158, Issue 2, August 2002, Pages 401-409, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1006/icar.2002.6886. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35958
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Dec 2012 23:44
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:18

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