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Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Modeling of Lightning Observed in Galileo Images of Jupiter

Dyudina, U. A. and Ingersoll, A. P. and Vasavada, A. R. and Ewald, S. P. (2002) Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Modeling of Lightning Observed in Galileo Images of Jupiter. Icarus, 160 (2). pp. 336-349. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1006/icar.2002.6977.

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We study lightning on Jupiter and the clouds illuminated by the lightning using images taken by the Galileo orbiter. The Galileo images have a resolution of ∼25 km/pixel and are able to resolve the shape of single lightning spots, which have half widths (radii) at half the maximum intensity in the range 45–80 km. We compare the shape and width of lightning flashes in the images with simulated flashes produced by our 3D Monte Carlo light-scattering model. The model calculates Monte Carlo scattering of photons in a 3D opacity distribution. During each scattering event, light is partially absorbed. The new direction of the photon after scattering is chosen according to a Henyey–Greenstein phase function. An image from each direction is produced by accumulating photons emerging from the cloud in a small range (bins) of emission angles. The light source is modeled either as a point or a vertical line. A plane-parallel cloud layer does not always fit the data. In some cases the cloud over the light source appears to resemble cumulus clouds on Earth. Lightning is estimated to occur at least as deep as the bottom of the expected water cloud. For the six flashes studied, we find that the clouds above the lightning are optically thick (τ>5). Jovian flashes are more regular and circular than the largest terrestrial flashes observed from space. On Jupiter there is nothing equivalent to the 30–40-km horizontal flashes that are seen on Earth.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Ingersoll, A. P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Vasavada, A. R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Ewald, S. P.0000-0002-1567-9154
Additional Information:© 2002 Elsevier Science. Received October 25, 2001; revised August 10, 2002. Available online 5 December 2002. We thank Dennis J. Boccippio for the help with LIS data. U.D. thanks Andrei Khodakovski for programming advice and Jackie Kessler for comments on the manuscript style. LIS data are provided by the Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC) at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center, Huntsville, Alabama. Finally, we thank the two anonymous referees whose detailed comments helped to improve the clarity of the paper.
Subject Keywords:Jupiter, atmosphere; radiative transfer; image processing; atmospheres, structure
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121212-154413660
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Official Citation:U.A. Dyudina, A.P. Ingersoll, A.R. Vasavada, S.P. Ewald, the Galileo SSI Team, Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Modeling of Lightning Observed in Galileo Images of Jupiter, Icarus, Volume 160, Issue 2, December 2002, Pages 336-349, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35960
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:29 Sep 2015 18:34
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:19

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