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Published June 1, 1994 | Published
Journal Article Open

Atmospheric gravity waves from the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter


We study the effect of the Jovian water cloud on internal gravity waves generated by the impact of comet SL9. Vertical structure follows Voyager data to the 1-bar level, a moist adiabat from 1 to 5 bars, and a dry adiabat below the 5-bar level. The waves are trapped in the moist layer and propagate horizontally. Their speed is related to the vertical integral of the Brunt-Väisälä frequency, and varies as the square root of the water abundance (130 m/s for solar composition). The amplitudes are large, e.g., ±1 K at a distance of 8000 km for an energy of 10^(27) ergs. The circular ripples should be detectable one or two days after the impact in thermal infrared and visible images.

Additional Information

© 1994 American Geophysical Union. Received March 4, 1994; revised April 11, 1994; accepted April 14, 1994. Dowling and Ingersoll acknowledge support from NASA's Planetary Atmospheres Program, grants NAGW-2956 and NAGW-1956; Kanamori acknowledges support from NSF grant EAR-92 18809.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023