An Application of Baroclinic Stability Theory to the Dynamics of the Jovian Atmosphere

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  • 1 Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
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Abstract

The hypothesis that the zonal motions in the Jovian atmosphere are thermal winds and that the latitudinal cloud bands are caused by baroclinic instabilities under nongeostrophic conditions is investigated. The stability theory is modified to take into account deep atmosphere effects. Comparison with observations indicates that the hypothesis is feasible, although very speculative in view of our present ignorance of Jovian conditions. In order to cheek the hypothesis, “dishpan” experiments at small values of the Richardson number and a better knowledge of the temperature distribution in the cloud layer and of the widths of the cloud bands at high resolutions would he particularly useful.

Abstract

The hypothesis that the zonal motions in the Jovian atmosphere are thermal winds and that the latitudinal cloud bands are caused by baroclinic instabilities under nongeostrophic conditions is investigated. The stability theory is modified to take into account deep atmosphere effects. Comparison with observations indicates that the hypothesis is feasible, although very speculative in view of our present ignorance of Jovian conditions. In order to cheek the hypothesis, “dishpan” experiments at small values of the Richardson number and a better knowledge of the temperature distribution in the cloud layer and of the widths of the cloud bands at high resolutions would he particularly useful.

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