Images of the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn show highly turbulent storms and swirling Q23 clouds that reflect the intensity of turbulence in their atmospheres. Quantifying planetary turbulence is inaccessible to conventional tools, however, since they require large quantities of spatially and temporally resolved data. Here we show, using experiments, observations, and simulations, that potential vorticity (PV) is a straightforward and universal diagnostic that can be used to estimate turbulent energy transfer in a stably stratified atmosphere. We use the conservation of PV to define a length scale, LM, representing a typical distance over which PV is mixed by planetary turbulence. LM increases as the turbulent intensity increases and can be estimated from any latitudinal PV profile. Using this principle, we estimate LM within Jupiter's and Saturn's tropospheres, showing for the first time that turbulent energy transfer in Saturn's atmosphere is four times less intense than Jupiter's

Revealing the intensity of turbulent energy transfer in planetary atmospheres / Cabanes, Simon; Espa, Stefania; Galperin, Boris; Young, Roland M. B.; Read, Peter L.. - In: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. - ISSN 0094-8276. - 47:23(2020). [10.1029/2020GL088685]

Revealing the intensity of turbulent energy transfer in planetary atmospheres

Espa, Stefania;
2020

Abstract

Images of the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn show highly turbulent storms and swirling Q23 clouds that reflect the intensity of turbulence in their atmospheres. Quantifying planetary turbulence is inaccessible to conventional tools, however, since they require large quantities of spatially and temporally resolved data. Here we show, using experiments, observations, and simulations, that potential vorticity (PV) is a straightforward and universal diagnostic that can be used to estimate turbulent energy transfer in a stably stratified atmosphere. We use the conservation of PV to define a length scale, LM, representing a typical distance over which PV is mixed by planetary turbulence. LM increases as the turbulent intensity increases and can be estimated from any latitudinal PV profile. Using this principle, we estimate LM within Jupiter's and Saturn's tropospheres, showing for the first time that turbulent energy transfer in Saturn's atmosphere is four times less intense than Jupiter's
2020
turbulent energy tranfer; planetary atmosphere; laboratory experiments
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Revealing the intensity of turbulent energy transfer in planetary atmospheres / Cabanes, Simon; Espa, Stefania; Galperin, Boris; Young, Roland M. B.; Read, Peter L.. - In: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. - ISSN 0094-8276. - 47:23(2020). [10.1029/2020GL088685]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1455696
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