The dynamics of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s weather layers: a synthesis after Cassini and Juno

Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics Annual Reviews 56 (2024)


Until recently, observations of the giant planets of our Solar System were confined to sampling relatively shallow regions of their atmospheres, leaving many uncertainties as to the dynamics of deeper layers. The Cassini and Juno missions to Saturn and Jupiter, however, have begun to address these issues, for example, by measuring their gravity and magnetic fields. The results show that the zonally coherent jets and cloud bands extend to levels where the electrical conductivity of the fluid becomes significant, whereas large-scale vortices, such as the Great Red Spot, are relatively shallow but may have deep-seated roots. The polar regions also exhibit intense cyclonic vortices that, on Jupiter, arrange themselves into remarkably regular “vortex crystals.” Numerical models seem able to capture some of this complexity, but many issues remain unresolved, suggesting a need for models that can represent both deep and shallow processes sufficiently realistically to compare with observations.

Equatorial waves and superrotation in the stratosphere of a Titan general circulation model

Planetary Science Journal IOP Publishing 4:8 (2023) 149


Neil Lewis, Nicholas Lombardo, Peter Read, Juan Lora


We investigate the characteristics of equatorial waves associated with the maintenance of superrotation in the stratosphere of a Titan general circulation model. A variety of equatorial waves are present in the model atmosphere, including equatorial Kelvin waves, equatorial Rossby waves, and mixed Rossby–gravity waves. In the upper stratosphere, acceleration of superrotation is strongest around solstice and is due to interaction between equatorial Kelvin waves and Rossby-type waves in winter hemisphere midlatitudes. The existence of this "Rossby–Kelvin"-type wave appears to depend on strong meridional shear of the background zonal wind that occurs in the upper stratosphere at times away from the equinoxes. In the lower stratosphere, acceleration of superrotation occurs throughout the year and is partially induced by equatorial Rossby waves, which we speculate are generated by quasigeostrophic barotropic instability. Acceleration of superrotation is generally due to waves with phase speeds close to the zonal velocity of the mean flow. Consequently, they have short vertical wavelengths that are close to the model's vertical grid scale and therefore likely to be not properly represented. We suggest that this may be a common issue among Titan general circulation models that should be addressed by future model development.

Noise induced effects in the axisymmetric spherical Couette flow.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 381:2246 (2023) 20220124


O Krivonosova, M Gritsevich, D Zhilenko, P Read


We study the axisymmetric, wide gap, spherical Couette flow in the presence of noise in numerical simulations and experiments. Such studies are important because most of the flows in nature are subjected to random fluctuations. Noise is introduced into the flow by adding fluctuations to the inner sphere rotation which are random in time with zero mean. Flows of a viscous incompressible fluid are induced either by rotation of the inner sphere only or by the co-rotation of the spheres. Mean flow generation was found to occur under the action of additive noise. A higher relative amplification of meridional kinetic energy compared to the azimuthal component was also observed under certain conditions. Calculated flow velocities were validated by laser Doppler anemometer measurements. A model is proposed to elucidate the rapid growth of meridional kinetic energy for flows induced by varying the co-rotation of the spheres. Our linear stability analysis for flows induced by the rotation of the inner sphere revealed a decrease in the critical Reynolds number, corresponding to the onset of the first instability. Also, in this case, a local minimum of the mean flow generation on approaching the critical Reynolds number was observed, which is consistent with the available theoretical predictions. This article is part of the theme issue 'Taylor-Couette and related flows on the centennial of Taylor's seminal Philosophical Transactions paper (Part 2)'.

Planetary Systems: From Symmetry to Chaos

Chapter in The Language of Symmetry, Taylor & Francis (2023) 1-12

Prevalence of short-lived radioactive isotopes across exoplanetary systems inferred from polluted white dwarfs

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP) 515:1 (2022) 395-406


Alfred Curry, Amy Bonsor, Tim Lichtenberg, Oliver Shorttle