Simulating Jupiter's weather layer. Part I: Jet spin-up in a dry atmosphere

Roland M.B. Young, Peter L. Read, Yixiong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the dynamics of Jupiter's upper troposphere and lower stratosphere using a General Circulation Model that includes two-stream radiation and optional heating from below. Based on the MITgcm dynamical core, this is a new generation of Oxford's Jupiter General Circulation Model [Zuchowski, L.C. et al., 2009. Plan. Space Sci., 57, 1525–1537, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2009.05.008]. We simulate Jupiter's atmosphere at up to 0.7° horizontal resolution with 33 vertical levels down to a pressure of 18 bar, in configurations with and without a 5.7Wm −2 interior heat flux. Simulations ran for 130000–150000 d to allow the deep atmosphere to come into radiative equilibrium. Baroclinic instability generates alternating, eddy-driven, midlatitude jets in both cases. With interior heating the zonal jets migrate towards the equator and become barotropically unstable. This generates Rossby waves that radiate away from the equator, depositing westerly momentum there via eddy angular momentum flux convergence and spinning up a super-rotating 20ms −1 equatorial jet throughout the troposphere. There are 30–35 zonal jets with latitudinal separation comparable with the real planet, and there is strong eddy activity throughout. Without interior heating the jets do not migrate and a divergent eddy angular momentum flux at the equator spins up a broad, 50ms −1 sub-rotating equatorial jet with weak eddy activity at low latitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-252
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Barotropic instability
  • Convection
  • General circulation model
  • Jupiter
  • Super-rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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