3D Modeling of interactions between Jupiter's ammonia clouds and large anticyclones
Abbreviated Journal Title
Jupiter, atmosphere; Atmospheres, dynamics; Atmospheres, structure; Meteorology; GREAT-RED-SPOT; NONLINEAR SIMULATIONS; VERTICAL STRUCTURE; MOIST; CONVECTION; GIANT PLANETS; EPIC SIMULATIONS; OUTER PLANETS; OVAL BA; DYNAMICS; ATMOSPHERE; Astronomy & Astrophysics
The motions of Jupiter's tropospheric jets and vortices are made visible by its outermost clouds, which are expected to be largely composed of ammonia ice. Several groups have demonstrated that much of this dynamics can be reproduced in the vorticity fields of high-resolution models that, surprisingly, do not contain any clouds. While this reductionist approach is valuable, it has natural limitations. Here we report on numerical simulations that use the EPIC Jupiter model with a realistic ammonia-cloud microphysics module, focusing on how observable ammonia clouds interact with the Great Red Spot (GRS) and Oval BA. Maps of column-integrated ammonia-cloud density in the model resemble visible-band images of Jupiter and potential-vorticity maps. On the other hand, vertical cross sections through the model vortices reveal considerable heterogeneity in cloud density values between pressure levels in the vicinity of large anticyclones, and interestingly, ammonia snow appears occasionally. Away from the vortices, the ammonia clouds form at the levels expected from traditional one-dimensional models, and inside the vortices, the clouds are elevated and thick, in agreement with Galileo NIMS observations. However, rather than gathering slowly into place as a result of Jupiter's weak secondary circulation, the ammonia clouds instead form high and thick inside the large anticyclones as soon as the cloud microphysics module is enabled. This suggests that any weak secondary circulation that might be present in Jupiter's anticyclones, such as may arise because of radiative damping of their temperature anomalies, may have little or no direct effect on the altitude or thickness of the ammonia clouds. Instead, clouds form at those locations because the top halves of large anticyclones must be cool for the vortex to be able to fit under the tropopause, which is a primary-circulation, thermal-wind-shear effect of the stratification, not a secondary-circulation thermal feature. A planetary-scale void of ammonia clouds persists in the model southward of -38 degrees planetographic latitude, but may partially reflect the fact that we have not yet included a full complement of vortices, all condensable species or the underlying dry-convective forcing from Jupiter's interior. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"3D Modeling of interactions between Jupiter's ammonia clouds and large anticyclones" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5928.