Jovian Dynamics. Part III: Multiple, Migrating, and Equatorial Jets.
Abstract
Studies of the dynamical response of thin atmospheric layers overlying thick envelopes are extended to examine how multiple jets, such as those seen on Jupiter and Saturn, can be generated and maintained. The jets are produced by baroclinic instabilities and are examined numerically using a primitive equation model subject to simple heating functions. The motions are confined to a thin upper layer by a heating that produces a flow with either an exponential vertical structure or one that is linear aloft while vanishing below. The motions are driven by latitudinal heating distributions with a variety of global and local components.The calculations show that jets roughly resembling the main Jovian ones in amplitude, scale, and form can be generated and maintained in a steady configuration when the flow has the confined linear structure. When the flow has the exponential structure, however, the jets migrate slowly but continuously equatorward while being regenerated in higher latitudes. For both structures, the flow is sensitive to the heating distribution in low latitudes where jets form only if a significant baroclinicity exists in that region; such jets can also be barotropically unstable and can generate a superrotating current at the equator. In midlatitudes, except for being confined to an upper layer, the baroclinic instabilities resemble the standard forms seen in terrestrial models with high rotation rates.Additional calculations show that superrotating equatorial currents can also be generated for deep layers or for Earth's atmosphere if the initial instabilities are developed in low latitudes. Broad easterly currents such as Neptune's can also be generated by elementary heating distributions, provided that the heated layer becomes progressively thicker with latitude. Finally, the hexagonal shape that highlatitude jets sometimes assume on Saturn when viewed in a polar projection can be attributed to nonlinear waves associated with baroclinic instabilities.
 Publication:

Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
 Pub Date:
 May 2003
 DOI:
 10.1175/15200469(2003)60<1270:JDPIMM>2.0.CO;2
 Bibcode:
 2003JAtS...60.1270W