Study explores mysterious weather patterns on Jupiter

In the longest-ever study of temperature monitoring on the largest planet in our solar system, scientists have made some surprising observations.

WASHINGTON — Scientists who have studied Jupiter’s weather for nearly 40 years have made some surprising and somewhat mysterious discoveries about how temperatures in different rings and regions of the planet fluctuate.

The researchers monitored temperatures in Jupiter’s upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where its characteristic striped clouds form and where the planet’s weather occurs.

Since NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11 missions in the 1970s, astronomers have known that in general, Jupiter’s brighter, whiter bands – called regions – are related to temperature colder. Its rings – the darker russet bands – have warmer temperatures.

But without long-term data, scientists can’t track how temperatures and weather patterns change over time.

For the new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, scientists studied images of bright infrared light above warmer regions of Jupiter’s atmosphere. The scientists collected images at regular intervals across Jupiter’s three orbits, each spanning 12 Earth years.

What they discovered was surprising: Scientists found that Jupiter’s temperature rises and falls in definite periods that are not tied to the seasons — or any other cycle that scientists have observed. know. Because Jupiter’s axial tilt is only 3 degrees, compared with Earth’s 23.5 degrees, it has a “weak season,” according to NASA, and the researchers didn’t expect to find steadily changing temperatures.

The researchers also found a link between temperature changes in regions thousands of miles apart. According to NASA, temperature acts like a mirror image on the equator. As temperatures rise at specific latitudes in the northern hemisphere, they drop at the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere.

“It is similar to a phenomenon we see on Earth, where weather and climate patterns in one region can have a marked effect on weather in another, with patterns of variation appearing to be ‘ connect remotely’ over vast distances in the atmosphere,” said senior author Glenn Orton, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and lead author of the study.

Co-author Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester in the UK said: “We have now solved part of the puzzle.

Orton and his colleagues began this work in 1978, trying to spend time observing at major telescopes around the world, then combining years of observations from the telescopes and different devices and poring over that data looking for patterns.

The study took so long, no student to support the study when it was completed was born when the study began.

Scientists hope these findings will help them in their mission to predict the weather on Jupiter, which could contribute to climate modeling for the giant planets in our solar system. .

“Measuring these temperature and cyclical changes over time is a step towards finally having full weather forecasts for Jupiter, if we can connect cause and effect,” says Fletcher. in the atmosphere of Jupiter. “And the even bigger question is whether we can one day extend this study to other giant planets to see if similar patterns emerge.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/nasa-jupiter-weather-patterns/507-adbad656-b723-45ce-a285-7fbc2ba96b3f Study explores mysterious weather patterns on Jupiter

Edmund DeMarche

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