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Dynamics of the Jovian Atmosphere from Observation and Theory


Li, Liming (2007) Dynamics of the Jovian Atmosphere from Observation and Theory. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6DAY-FJ03.


The atmospheric dynamics of Jupiter is studied by the Cassini observations and numerical models.

The multi-filter imaging data sets and the global thermal maps acquired by two instruments on Cassini--the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) and the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) during the Jupiter flyby, are utilized to study atmospheric activities on Jupiter including small-scale spots, the Great Red Spot (GRS), the Dark Oval (DO), the vertical structure of zonal winds, and wave propagation. These new observations enrich the library of atmospheric activities and offer more clues and constraints on theoretical studies.

A reduced-gravity quasi-geostrophic (QG) model is combined with a parameterization of moist convections based on observations, to study the interaction between moist convection and zonal jets on Jupiter and Saturn. The numerical experiments support the idea that the zonal jets get their energy from moist convective events. Strong jets in Jupiter and Saturn, which violate the barotropic stability criterion, are reproduced by assuming westward flows in the deep underlying layer. Furthermore, our simulations suggest that the width and strength of jets on Jupiter and Saturn are controlled by the classical Rhines scale and a new velocity scale determined by characteristics of moist convection.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Moist convection; Wave; Zonal jets
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Planetary Sciences
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ingersoll, Andrew P.
Group:Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Burnett, Donald S. (chair)
  • Ingersoll, Andrew P.
  • Richardson, Mark I.
  • Yung, Yuk L.
Defense Date:8 September 2006
Non-Caltech Author Email:lli7 (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-02012007-204746
Persistent URL:
Li, Liming0000-0002-5257-9849
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:444
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:12 Feb 2007
Last Modified:11 Mar 2020 18:43

Thesis Files

PDF (Thesis_Li_Final.pdf) - Final Version
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