University of Leicester
2020antunano_QQO_accepted.pdf (4.55 MB)

Fluctuations in Jupiter's equatorial stratospheric oscillation

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-10-01, 08:47 authored by Arrate Antunano, Richard G Cosentino, Leigh N Fletcher, Amy A Simon, Thomas K Greathouse, Glenn S Orton
The equatorial stratospheres of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn all exhibit a remarkable periodic oscillation of their temperatures and winds with height. Earth’s quasi-biennial oscillation and Saturn’s quasi-periodic equatorial oscillation have recently been observed to experience disruptions in their vertical structure as a consequence of atmospheric events occurring far from the equator. Here we reveal that Jupiter’s quasi-quadrennial oscillation can also be perturbed by strong tropospheric activity at equatorial and off-equatorial latitudes. Observations of Jupiter’s stratospheric temperatures between 1980 and 2011 show two significantly different periods for the quasi-quadrennial oscillation, with a 5.7-yr period between 1980 and 1990 and a 3.9-yr period between 1996 and 2006. Major disruptions to the predicted quasi-quadrennial oscillation pattern in 1992 and 2007 coincided with marked planetary-scale disturbances in the equatorial and low-latitude troposphere, suggesting that they are connected to vertically propagating waves generated by meteorological sources in the deeper troposphere (that is 500–4,000-mbar pressures). Disruptions in Jupiter’s periodic oscillations are thus inherently different from those of Saturn or the Earth. This interconnectivity between the troposphere and stratosphere, which is probably common to all planetary atmospheres, shows that seemingly regular cycles of variability can switch between different modes when subjected to extreme meteorological events.



Nature Astronomy (2020),

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School of Physics and Astronomy


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Nature Astronomy


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Correction to: Nature Astronomy, published online 24 August 2020. In the version of this Article originally published, in affiliation 5, “California Institute of Technology” was missing; this has now been corrected in all versions of the Article. Author Correction: Fluctuations in Jupiter’s equatorial stratospheric oscillation. Nat Astron (2021).