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Moist convection as an energy source for the large-scale motions in Jupiter's atmosphere

Ingersoll, A. P. and Gierasch, P. J. and Banfield, D. and Vasavada, A. R. (2000) Moist convection as an energy source for the large-scale motions in Jupiter's atmosphere. Nature, 403 (6770). pp. 630-632. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/35001021.

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Jupiter's dominant large-scale weather patterns (dimensions ~10,000 km) are zonal jets and long-lived ovals. The jets have been flowing east and west at constant speeds of up to 180 m s^(-1) for over 100 years. These jets receive energy from small-scale eddies, which pump eastward momentum into the eastward jets and westward momentum into the westward jets. This momentum transfer was predicted by numerical models before it was observed on Jupiter. The large ovals roll between the jets in an anticyclonic direction—clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere—where they regularly assimilate small anticyclonic eddies. But from where the eddies receive their energy has been an open question. Here we argue that the eddies, which ultimately drive both the jets and the ovals, receive their energy from moist convection. This hypothesis is consistent with observations of jovian lightning, which is an indicator of moist convection. It also explains the anticyclonic rotation and poleward drift of the eddies, and suggests patterns of upwelling and downwelling that resemble the patterns of large-scale axisymmetric overturning in the Earth's atmosphere.

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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Ingersoll, A. P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Vasavada, A. R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Additional Information:© 2000 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 8 October; accepted 7 December 1999. We thank A. Simon for useful suggestions. This research was supported by the NASA Galileo Project and the NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program.
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Issue or Number:6770
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130130-134252001
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ID Code:36692
Deposited On:30 Jan 2013 22:46
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:23

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