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A Comparative Examination of Simulations of Dark Spots on Uranus

Presentation #323.04 in the session Uranus and Neptune Systems (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
A Comparative Examination of Simulations of Dark Spots on Uranus

While Uranus has not exhibited the appearance of prominent atmospheric vortex features since the Voyager era, there have been observations of smaller-scale Dark Spots over this time frame. The observation of the Uranian Dark Spot (UDS) in 2006 was the first prominent example; however, smaller dark spots have subsequently been observed and compact cloud features may have sustained through the interaction with unobserved vortices.

Using the EPIC General Circulation Model, simulations considered here are of larger vortices based on the UDS and a theoretical unobserved vortex associated with the latitudinal drift of the Berg cloud feature. Observations are used to define initial global atmospheric conditions as well as determining initial vortex characteristics such as size and wind strength. Coherent vortices comparable to the UDS as well as vortices that exhibit equatorward drift motions, consistent with the observations of the Berg, have been generated with these techniques. However, closer matches to observations are desirable for understanding the underlying physics of these features. Combining results from simulations of both the UDS and the Berg provides a larger baseline for comparing initial conditions and the subsequent vortex dynamics.

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