Convective storms in closed cyclones in Jupiter's South Temperate Belt: (I) observations
On May 31, 2020 a short-lived convective storm appeared in one of the small cyclones of Jupiter's South Temperate Belt (STB) at planetographic latitude 30.8°S. The outbreak was captured by amateur astronomer Clyde Foster in methane-band images, became widely known as Clyde's Spot, and was imaged at very high resolution by the Junocam instrument on board the Juno mission 2.5 days later. Junocam images showed a white two-lobed cyclonic system with high clouds observed in the methane-band at 890 nm. The storm evolved over a few days to become a dark feature that showed turbulence for months, presented oscillations in its drift rate, and slowly expanded, first into a Folded Filamentary Region (FFR), and later into a turbulent segment of the STB over a timescale of one year. On August 7, 2021, a new storm strikingly similar to Clyde's Spot erupted in a cyclone of the STB. The new storm exhibited first a similar transformation into a turbulent dark feature, and later transformed into a dark cyclone fully formed by January 2022. We compare the evolution into a FFR of Clyde's Spot with the formation of a FFR observed by Voyager 2 in 1979 in the South South Temperate Belt (SSTB) after a convective outburst in a cyclone that also developed a two-lobed shape. We also discuss the contemporaneous evolution of an additional cyclone of the STB, which was similar to the one were Clyde's Spot developed. This cyclone did not exhibit visible internal convective activity, and transformed from pale white in 2019, with low contrast with the environment, to dark red in 2020, and thus, was very similar to the outcome of the second storm. This cyclone became bright again in 2021 after interacting with Oval BA. We present observations of these phenomena obtained by amateur astronomers, ground-based telescopes, Hubble Space Telescope and Junocam. This study reveals that short-lived small storms that are active for only a few days can produce complex long-term changes that extend over much larger areas than those initially covered by the storms. In a second paper [Iñurrigarro et al., 2022] we use the EPIC numerical model to simulate these storms and study moist convection in closed cyclones.
- Pub Date:
- July 2022
- Earth Science