Jupiter's atmosphere

  1. once i looked at short video clip of jupiter atmosphere. i have questions in mind:
    1. why the atmosphere seems to travel at different speed making up a number of sliding rings?why don't they travel together?
    2. what makes the pattern of turbulence so huge? i think we need such an incredible viscousity to produce such an effect. why don't they break up into tiny curls?

    i never learn astronomy, so please excuse my silly questions if they sound very trivial.
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Good questions. Let me reframe the issue slightly:

    First, what is wind and how does it work on Earth? Wind is nothing more than convective heat transfer: warm air rises, cool air moves in to take its place. Since it is warmer at the equator than the poles, the convection takes heat up and away from the equator and sends it to the poles. Now you may notice that winds around where you live often go in the same direction. So what causes that? That's the coriolis effect. If wind moves in a straight line while the earth is rotating under it, that causes the wind to bend.

    This first link has a good description of the coriolis effect, the second has a good diagram showing the prevailing wind directions:

    And here is a great link showing the two circulation patterns side-by-side:

    Notice how similar the bands look to how wind circulates on Jupiter?! The names are different, but they match up almost exactly!
  4. wow... i've checked it.
    so earth atmosphere is actually just doing the same thing ...
  5. Yep, but our atmosphere is thin and transparent, so we don't see it. :)
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