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Numerical simulations of atmospheric waves in Saturn’s thermosphere with the STIM model.

Presentation #508.05 in the session Origin and Evolution of Giant Planet Systems II (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Numerical simulations of atmospheric waves in Saturn’s thermosphere with the STIM model.

Atmospheric waves of different types can be found in atmospheres of planets of the Solar System. These waves not only disturb the atmospheres, but can also alter the structure and affect the global circulation [1]. Therefore, it is important to know their characteristics and impact on the atmospheric dynamics. Recently, the first detection of waves in Saturn’s thermosphere was reported from Cassini INMS data and UVIS occultations data [2, 3].

In this work, we present high resolution simulations of Saturn’s thermosphere performed with the Saturn Thermosphere Ionosphere General Circulation Model (STIM) [4, 5]. The STIM model is the only published Saturn upper-atmosphere model which couples the thermosphere and the ionosphere. The simulations show an intense generation of wave packets in the North and South auroral regions of the planet. We analyze the morphology and properties of these waves, their propagation characteristics and estimate the dynamical forcing imposed on the mean flow.


[1] Vallis. Atmospheric and Ocean Fluid Dynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2006.

[2] Müller-Wodarg et al. Atmospheric Waves and Their Possible Effect on the Thermal Structure of Saturn’s Thermosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 2019.

[3] Brown et al. A pole-to-pole pressure-temperature map of Saturn’s thermosphere from Cassini Grand Finale data. Nature Astronomy, 4, 2020.

[4] Müller-Wodarg et al. A global circulation model of Saturn’s thermosphere. Icarus, 180, 2006.

[5] Müller-Wodarg et al. Magnetosphere-atmosphere coupling at Saturn: 1 – Response of thermosphere and ionosphere to steady state polar forcing. Icarus, 221, 2012.

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