Dynamics of Gas Planets

a) Giant planets model results; b) Ice Giant model results. (Image: K. Soderlund.)

In collaboration with Moritz Heimpel (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), Lorraine Allen (US Coast Guard Academy) and Johannes Wicht (Max Plank Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany), SPINLab members Krista Soderlund, Eric King and Prof. Aurnou have been carrying out numerical studies of zonal wind generation on the giant planets. Our simulations suggest that convection in the nearly adiabatic deep atmospheres of the Jupiter and Saturn will tend to produce nearly two-dimensional turbulence that naturally generates a flow pattern with a strong eastward equatorial jet and multiple jets at higher latitudes. Further simulations suggest that on Uranus and Neptune the convective turbulence may more three-dimensional than on Jupiter or Saturn.

Funding for this project provided by NASA’s PATM Program.

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