We already know that Jupiter and Saturn, the largest planets from our Solar System, are unlike anything we can see on Earth. Far stronger gravity, a non-solid surface, and unusual storms are only a few of the incredible features of the two gas giants. But just like things usually go in astronomy, there’s always something new to learn.
Storms exist on Jupiter and Saturn just like they do on Earth, but they’re triggered in a much weirder way. At first, scientists suspected that the storms from the two gas giants were arising from the lower atmosphere as it happens on Earth. But new research proves them wrong.
Deeper internal forces from Jupiter and Saturn are triggering the storms
By comparison, the storms from Earth are powered by external forces. The researchers had made simulations of the two gas giants from our solar system and concluded that violent internal forces are causing cyclones, anticyclones, magnetic plumes, and jets.
Rakesh Kumar Yadav, leader of a new study, explained more:
By modeling the dominant dynamical features present on the surface of Jupiter and Saturn, namely, zonal jet streams and storms/vortices, we can learn about what drives them and their connection to the planetary deep interior,
The scientists modeled a “thin shell” and a “thick shell” simulation. Both of the schemes assumed where the weather systems will emerge, and even more. Each simulation type factored in the fast convection that causes turbulence for spherical shells that were planet-shaped and programmed to rotate like the simulated planets. On Jupiter and Saturn, convection is brought on in a similar way to Earth: by warmer and less dense gas rising, as well as colder and denser gas sinking.
Don’t forget about the magnetic fields
The magnetic fields of the two gas giants interact with hydrodynamic layers. The convection from within the magnetic field caused a shooting of plumes into space. More anticyclones were also created where there was higher magnetic energy. All of this was part of the ‘thick shell simulation’.
Therefore, next time you’re willing to complain about the weather on Earth, you better keep in mind that it’s a lot worse on other planets.