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New Observations and Modeling of Jupiter's Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-11, 09:54 authored by Richard G. Cosentino, Raúl Morales-Juberías, Thomas Greathouse, Glenn Orton, Perianne Johnson, Leigh N. Fletcher, Amy Simon
The quasi-quadrennial oscillation (QQO) and its ∼4 year period in Jupiter's atmosphere were first discovered in 7.8 μm infrared observations spanning the 1980s and 1990s from detecting semiregular variations in equatorial brightness temperatures near 10 hPa. New observations that probe between 0.1 and 30 hPa in Jupiter's atmosphere using the Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph (TEXES), mounted on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, have characterized the vertical structure of the QQO during a complete cycle between January 2012 and April 2016. These new observations show the thermal oscillation previously detected at 10 hPa and that it extends over a pressure range of 2-17 hPa. We have incorporated a spectrum of wave drag parameterizations into the Explicit Planetary Isentropic Code general circulation model to simulate the observed Jovian QQO temperature signatures inferred from the TEXES observations as a function of latitude. A new stochastic wave drag parameterization explores vertical wind structure and offers insight into the spectra of waves that likely exist in Jupiter's atmosphere to force the QQO. High-frequency gravity waves produced from convection likely contribute significantly to the QQO momentum budget. The model temperature outputs show strong correlations to equatorial and surrounding latitude temperature fields retrieved from the TEXES data sets at different epochs. Our results reproduce the QQO phenomenon as a zonal jet that descends over time in response to Jovian atmospheric forcing (e.g., gravity waves from convection).


Resources for this research include the PELICAN computing cluster at New Mexico Tech Physics Department. Additional resources include the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, 2012, Yellowstone: IBM iDataPlex System (University Community Computing) and Boulder, CO: National Center for Atmospheric Research. This work was partially supported by NASA Outer Planet Research grant NNH07ZDA001N. Richard Cosentino was also supported by the Graduate Student Summer Research Program at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory which is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Greathouse was a visiting astronomer at the Infrared Telescope Facility, which is operated by the University of Hawaii under contract NNH14CK55B with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Glenn Orton was supported by grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Greathouse was supported by NASA Planetary Astronomy grant NNX14AG34G. Leigh Fletcher was supported by a Royal Society Research Fellowship.



Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2017, 122.

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy


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Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets


American Geophysical Union (AGU), Wiley





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All of the HST, TEXES, and EPIC data are included as supporting information in a single folder with separate directories for each set. Additional information on how to access the data using the open source programming language Python is also included.;The file associated with this record is under embargo until 6 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.