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Anthony D. Del Genio and Robert J. Suozzo


As a preliminary step in the development of a general circulation model for general planetary use, a simplified version of the GISS Model 1 GCM has been run at various rotation periods to investigate differences between the dynamical regimes of rapidly and slowly rotating planets. To isolate the dynamical processes, the hydrologic cycle is suppressed and the atmosphere is forced with perpetual annual mean solar heating. All other parameters except the rotation period remain fixed at their terrestrial values. Experiments were conducted for rotation periods of ⅔, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 64 and 256 days. The results are in qualitative agreement with similar experiments carded out previously with other GCMs and with certain aspects of one Venus GCM simulation. As rotation rate decreases, the energetics shifts from baroclinic to quasi-barotropic when the Rossby radius of deformation reaches planetary scale. The Hadley cell expands poleward and replaces eddies as the primary mode of large-scale heat transport. Associated with this is a poleward shift of the baroclinic zone and jet stream and a reduction of the equator-pole temperature contrast. Midlatitude jet strength peaks at 8 days period, as does the weak positive equatorial zonal wind which occurs at upper levels at all rotation periods. Eddy momentum transport switches from poleward to equatorward at the same period. Tropospheric mean static stability generally increases in the tropics and decreases in midlatitudes as rotation rate decreases, but the global mean static stability is independent of rotation rate. The peak in the eddy kinetic energy spectrum shifts toward lower wavenumbers, reaching wavenumber 1 at a period of 8 days. Implications of these results for the dynamics of Venus and Titan are discussed. Specifically, it is suggested that the extent of low-level convection determines whether the Gierasch mechanism contributes significantly to equatorial superrotation on these planets.

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