Earth's oceanography helps eliminate Jupiter's flow cycles
Lia Siegelman was just while exploring the swirling waters of the South Sea, which surrounds Antarctica, when she happened to come across a poster image of orbits around the north pole of Jupiter, erected by the Juno spacecraft at NASA. "I looked at it, and I was just struck: 'Whoa, this looks like a mess in the ocean,'" she says.
So Siegelman, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, turned his attention to the latest detailed images of the outer planet. She and her team proved for the first time that the kind of convection seen on Earth explains the physical forces and energy sources created by bicycles on Jupiter. (Since both air and water are "fluids," from a physics point of view, the same principles apply to the gas giant's atmosphere and our oceans.) They announced their findings today. in the magazine Natural Physics.
Jupiter, the 4-octillion-pound elephant in our solar system, makes giant bikes, giant storms that orbit low-weight areas. Some are thousands of miles wide - the size of the continental United States - with winds of up to 250 miles per hour. Eight of the largest were seen at the north pole of the planet and five at the south. Scientists have been speculating for years about their origin, but by mapping these storms and measuring wind speed and temperature, Siegelman and his colleagues showed what they really are. creating. Little spinning cries appear here and there among the turbulent clouds - they are not so different from the ocean eddies that Siegelman was familiar with - and then they start to come together. The bikes grow by getting up smaller clouds and getting energy from them, so they can keep spinning, she says.
It's a great way to study real weather on a planet more than 500 million miles away. “It is clear that the authors draw from the subjects of meteorology and oceanography. These people are taking this rich literature and applying it in solemn ways to a planet that can only be touched, ”said Morgan O'Neill, a Stanford scientist who models the physics of hurricanes and tornadoes. the Earth and sent its work to Saturn.
In particular, O'Neill says, the team of scientists demonstrates how, like thunder storms on Earth, Jupiter's bicycles build through a process called full "damp signal." Warm, less dense, deep air in the planet's atmosphere rises gradually, while colder and denser air, near the void of space, moves down. This creates turbulence, which is seen in clouds of ammonia that blows up with moisture.