NASA scientists have uncovered unexpected weather patterns on Jupiter in a 40-year study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. The results of this work will make it possible to predict weather changes on this planet in the future.
For this, data obtained on NASA’s Voyager and Cassini spacecraft, as well as from ground-based telescopes, were used. Scientists have studied temperature information using images of a bright infrared glow in Jupiter’s upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where characteristic multi-colored striped clouds form. These indicators were measured during three orbital cycles of the planet, each of which lasts about 12 Earth years.
It turned out that the temperature on Jupiter rises and falls after certain periods that are not related to the seasons or any other cycles. Due to the fact that the planet is tilted around its axis by only three degrees, seasonal changes are weakly manifested on it, so the researchers did not assume that the weather there could be so cyclical.
In addition, a relationship was recorded between temperature shifts in regions located at a distance of thousands of kilometers from each other: when the temperature increased at certain latitudes in the northern hemisphere, it decreased at the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere.
Future work is planned to find out what causes these cyclical and synchronized changes. This requires observations both below and above the cloud layers. The data obtained will provide a basis for computer modeling of temperature cycles and how they affect the weather, not only for Jupiter, but for all giant planets.