Jupiter's Giant Red Spot

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I'm interested in finding out more about how this is generated. I recently learned it is believed to be caused by the Coriolis effect, but I don't have a clear picture of how that would generate the spot. My understanding of the Coriolis effect is limited to its usefullness in north/south airplane trips.
 
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Well, I don't know exactly how this is explained, but I do know that the "spot" is actually a giant windstorm (the size of like 4 Earths, IIRC), and giant windstorms can be generated by the coriolis effect (which is something like the effect of the centripetal force of the spin of the planet coupled with the force of it's gravity, IIRC).
 

Labguy

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
I'm interested in finding out more about how this is generated. I recently learned it is believed to be caused by the Coriolis effect, but I don't have a clear picture of how that would generate the spot. My understanding of the Coriolis effect is limited to its usefullness in north/south airplane trips.
Mentat is correct. The GRS "storm has been seen for 300 years+ and has undergone many changes.

The north-south airplane trip trick is about flying "Great Circles", not the Coriolis Effect.
 
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The information presented at the site linked below indicates the coriolis effect plays an important part in north/south airplane travel.

Coriolis Effect
Address:http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/coriolis_effect.html [Broken]

I am having a difficult time envisioning how it contributes to the storm on Jupiter.
 
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Labguy

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
The information presented at the site linked below indicates the coriolis effect plays an important part in north/south airplane travel.

Coriolis Effect
Address:http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/coriolis_effect.html [Broken]

I am having a difficult time envisioning how it contributes to the storm on Jupiter.
Unless I can't read, that site says absolutely ZERO about aircraft flight. It does state that:

"The Coriolis effect has great significance in astrophysics and stellar dynamics, in which it is a controlling factor in the directions of rotation of sunspots. It is also significant in the earth sciences, especially meteorology, physical geology, and oceanography, in that the Earth is a rotating frame of reference, and motions over the surface of the Earth are subject to acceleration from the force indicated. Thus, the Coriolis force figures prominently in studies of the dynamics of the atmosphere, in which it affects prevailing winds and the rotation of storms, and in the hydrosphere, in which it affects the rotation of the oceanic currents."

It would have an effect on the path of anything in orbit, and atmospheric and oceanographic motions, just as it says. Except for very "local" atmospheric conditions, the atmosphere is also rotating with the Earth's surface, and an airplane flying a Great Circle would be the shortest N-S path, like the current "over-the pole" flights to Russia. An over-the-pole ballistic missle would, of course, have to take the effect into account or miss. It leaves the atmosphere. IF there is an effect on aircraft flight in the atmosphere, it would be very small.

The part stating that: "Thus, the Coriolis force figures prominently in studies of the dynamics of the atmosphere, in which it affects prevailing winds and the rotation of storms, and in the hydrosphere, in which it affects the rotation of the oceanic currents." directly affects the formation and intensity of hurricanes. The GRS on Jupiter is just considered a large "hurricane" that maintains energy from the Coriolis force of winds of several hundred miles per hour, vs. our puny 150 MPH stuff.
 
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The word "airplane" is not used at that site. It speaks of how the coriolis effect figures in to the apparent trajectory of projectiles fired north from the equator, and south from the pole.

This indicates it plays an important part in north/south airplane travel.

I am having a hard time envisioning how it figures in to the creation of the big red spot on Jupiter.
 

Labguy

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
The word "airplane" is not used at that site. It speaks of how the coriolis effect figures in to the apparent trajectory of projectiles fired north from the equator, and south from the pole.

This indicates it plays an important part in north/south airplane travel.

Yes, it affects airplanes. How could an airplane fly in a Great Circle without navigating toward or against any Coriolis effect?? That is how they fly a Great Circle.

Originally posted by zoobyshoe
I am having a hard time envisioning how it figures in to the creation of the big red spot on Jupiter.
Maybe it doesn't! I'm not a weatherman, and don't study much planetary stuff.
 
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Jupiter's Giant Red Spot

I'm interested in finding out more about how this is generated. I recently learned it is believed to be caused by the Coriolis effect, but I don't have a clear picture of how that would generate the spot. My understanding of the Coriolis effect is limited to its usefullness in north/south airplane trips.
 

Phobos

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from http://www.seds.org/billa/tnp/jupiter.html [Broken]
The Great Red Spot (GRS) has been seen by Earthly observers for more than 300 years (its discovery is usually attributed to Cassini, or Robert Hooke in the 17th century). The GRS is an oval about 12,000 by 25,000 km, big enough to hold two Earths. Other smaller but similar spots have been known for decades. Infrared observations and the direction of its rotation indicate that the GRS is a high-pressure region whose cloud tops are significantly higher and colder than the surrounding regions. Similar structures have been seen on Saturn and Neptune. It is not known how such structures can persist for so long.
So, a high pressure region forms it, perhaps the Coriolis effect spins it (layers of clouds rotating at different speeds), and the lack of significant friction (no land form beneath to slow it down) allows it to keep going for 300+ years.

Although I have to wonder about the different cloud bands being as, or more important, than the Coriolis effect. Would a differential in the velocity of the upper and lower cloud bands keep the GRS going? Anyone have info on this?
 
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Here is the brief, undetailed statement I read:

"The planet spins fast, each day flashing by in ten earth hours. The spin produces a strong Coriolis force, the sidelong force that shoves against a person walking across a merry-go-round, and the Coriolis force drives the spot."

Chaos
-James Gleick

Now it mentions in a prior passage that the Voyager photos indicate the spot is stable, not, itself, rotating hurricane-like, and that the hurricane model is believed to be erroneous.

I'm having a hard time getting this all straight in my mind.

Your source, Phobos, seems to say they have, indeed, determined it to be rotating. (They refer to the direction of its rotation.)
 

Nereid

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Originally posted by Phobos Although I have to wonder about the different cloud bands being as, or more important, than the Coriolis effect. Would a differential in the velocity of the upper and lower cloud bands keep the GRS going? Anyone have info on this?
O.K. I found out the answer. You were on the verge of it here, Phobos.

Here is how the coriolis effect figures into the GRS:

As Phobos uncovered, the GRS is a high pressure island. This would imply, by earth weather standards that it is a subsiding, sinking area of cooler temperature gas that is thereby denser. This is what differentiates it from the surrounding lower pressure atmosphere to begin with.

It should dissipate into the lower pressure and disappear but it doesn't. Some dynamic is keeping it contained, or perhaps feeding it roughly in proportion to whatever high pressure it may lose.
(That's a different topic. My question is about how the coriolis effect figures in.)

As the presumedly more dense atmosphere rotates beneath it, the edge of the spot closer to the equator is subjected to greater surface speeds, running along beneath, than the edge farther away from the equator. If we say, for instance, that one edge is just touching the equator and the other is touching a tropic, the edge at the equator will have a greater circumference running beneath it than the edge at the tropic. This imbalance of force between the two edges is, obviously, what torques the GRS.

I was having a hard time figuring out where the torque was coming from. I see now that it is the result of two different surface speeds arising from the spherical shape of the planet.

(I discovered, too, that winds will take a different route around a high pressure area than they do around a low pressure area, and that these directions are flopped, mirror-like; Those in the northern hemisphere are enantiomorphs, so to speak, of those in the southern.)

-Zooby
 
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FZ+

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Now it mentions in a prior passage that the Voyager photos indicate the spot is stable, not, itself, rotating hurricane-like, and that the hurricane model is believed to be erroneous.
Actually, no... The previous passage says that the voyager probe showed the spot to be rotating anticyclonically, rather than cyclonically like earthbound hurricanes do. And the stability refers to the non-transient quality of the dynamic behaviour.
 
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Originally posted by FZ+
Actually, no... The previous passage says that the voyager probe showed the spot to be rotating anticyclonically, rather than cyclonically like earthbound hurricanes do. And the stability refers to the non-transient quality of the dynamic behaviour.
Yes, because a hurricane is a low pressure driven system, and as Phobos uncovered, the GRS is a high pressure system. It is rotating, but is not a hurricane. Wind goes the opposite direction around a high pressure island than it does a low pressure island.


Edit: I misapprehended what you were saying. You were saying I had incorrectly characterized what the previous passage in the Gleick book said. I have checked it and you are correct. It does say it was rotating but not from hurricane dynamics. My error.
 
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