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Published January 1996 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Hydrocarbon Photochemistry in the Upper Atmosphere of Jupiter


The hydrocarbon photochemistry in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter is investigated using a one-dimensional, photochemical-diffusive, and diurnally averaged model. The important chemical cycles and pathways among the major species are outlined and a standard model for the North Equatorial Belt region is examined in detail. It is found that several traditionally dominant chemical pathways among the C and C_2 species are replaced in importance by cycles involving C–C_4 species. The pressure and altitude profiles of mixing ratios for several observable hydrocarbon species are compared with available ultraviolet- and infrared-derived abundances. The results of sensitivity studies on the standard model with respect to variations in eddy diffusion profile, solar flux, atomic hydrogen influx, latitude, temperature, and important chemical reaction rates are presented. Measured and calculated airglow emissions of He at 584 Â and H at 1216 Â are also used to provide some constraints on the range of model parameters. The relevance of the model results to the upcoming Galileo mission is briefly discussed. The model is subject to considerable improvement; there is a great need for laboratory measurements of basic reaction rates and photodissociation quantum yields, even for such simple species as methylacetylene and allene. Until such laboratory measurements exist there will be considerable uncertainty in the understanding of the C_3and higher hydrocarbons in the atmospheres of the jovian planets.

Additional Information

© 1996 by Academic Press, Inc. Received April 19, 1995; revised August 29, 1995. We thank J. Moses for many valuable discussions and R. Yelle, L. Stief, and J. Friedson for helpful comments. The support of NASA Grant NAGW-1509 to the California Institute of Technology is gratefully acknowledged.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023