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What Jupiter's Atmosphere is Like: The Dynamic, Swirling Storm

First Posted: Feb 18, 2016 01:11 PM EST

What's Jupiter's atmosphere like? With its swirling clouds and massive storm taking place in its red spot, it's understandable why researchers want to learn a bit more about this planet. Now, scientists have gotten a closer look at Jupiter's atmosphere.

According to dynamical systems theory, transport barriers exist in complex flows as objects that cannot be crossed by other fluid trajectories. Those in unsteady flows, such as Jupiter's atmosphere, are material surfaces with coherent features in their deformations.

In this latest study, the researchers used a video from NASA's 2000 Cassini mission. They then applied an existing algorithm, called Advection Corrected Correlation Image Velocimetry (ACCIV), to obtain a time-resolved, two-dimensional representation of Jupiter's wind-velocity field. From this representation, the scientists then constructed an unstable velocity field model.

So what did the researchers find? For the first time, the analysis recognized unsteady material transport barriers surrounding both the Great Red Spot and the jet streams around the Great Red Spot caused by Jupiter's fast rotation. These discoveries actually reinforce prior conclusions about Jupiter's atmosphere.

The findings don't just have applications to Jupiter, though. The researchers hope to extend their current examinations to three dimensions. In theory, the findings will have potential applications for the remote observance of patterns in oceanography, meteorology, crowd surveillance, and environmental monitoring.

The findings are published in the journal SIAM Review.

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