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Three-dimensional Simulations of Convective Storms in Jupiter with an Updated Version of a Model of Moist Convection

Presentation #409.07 in the session “Giant Planets: Simulations”.

Published onOct 03, 2021
Three-dimensional Simulations of Convective Storms in Jupiter with an Updated Version of a Model of Moist Convection

Moist convective storms powered by the release of latent heat are a common feature in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Jovian convective storms form with a variety of spatial scales ranging from small short-lived storms affecting only their surroundings [1] to large long-lived storms that can develop into planetary-scale disturbances [2] following complex cycles of activity. These storms are an essential component in the atmospheric dynamics of the Gas Giants [3] and might be also an important element in the atmospheres of the Icy Giants [4].

Here we present new simulations of convective storms in Jupiter. An updated version of a three-dimensional Anelastic Model of Moist Convection [5-6] has been used to simulate the onset and initial development of convective storms in Jupiter’s atmosphere under different conditions to study under which ones the storms can develop. Three-dimensional models include the effects of the Coriolis force in the evolution of the storm and predict the motions developed in the storm, release of energy, cloud tops and a number of different features. The updated version of the model has an improved dynamical core increasing the stability and allowing the simulation of longer periods of time. We have tested different abundances of condensates, relative humidities and fractions of condensates carried by the storm.


[1] Iñurrigarro et al., Observations and numerical modelling of a convective disturbance in a large-scale cyclone in Jupiter’s South Temperate Belt, Icarus 336, 2020.

[2] Sánchez-Lavega et al., Depth of a strong jovian jet from a planetary-scale disturbance driven by storms, Nature 451, 2008.

[3] Ingersoll et al,. Moist convection as an energy source for the large-scale motions in Jupiter’s atmosphere, Nature 403, 2000.

[4] Hueso and Sánchez-Lavega. Atmospheric Dynamics and Vertical Structure of Uranus and Neptune’s weather layers, Space Science Reviews, 215:52, 2019.

[5] Hueso and Sánchez-Lavega. A Three-Dimensional Model of Moist Convection for the Giant Planets: The Jupiter Case, Icarus 151, 2001.

[6] Hueso and Sánchez-Lavega. A three-dimensional model of moist convection for the giant planets II: Saturn’s water and ammonia moist convective storms, Icarus 172, 2004.


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