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The Oscillatory Motion of Jupiter's Polar Cyclones Results From Vorticity Dynamics

Nimrod Gavriel and Yohai Kaspi

Submitted on 1 September 2022

Abstract

The polar cyclone at Jupiter's south pole and the five cyclones surrounding it oscillate in position and interact. These cyclones, observed since 2016 by NASA's Juno mission, present a unique opportunity to study vortex dynamics and interactions on long time scales. The cyclones' position data, acquired by Juno's JIRAM instrument, is analyzed, showing dominant oscillations with ~12 month periods and amplitudes of ~400 km. Here, the mechanism driving these oscillations is revealed by considering vorticity-gradient forces generated by mutual interactions between the cyclones and the latitudinal variation in planetary vorticity. Data-driven estimation of these forces exhibits a high correlation with the measured acceleration of the cyclones. To further test this mechanism, a model is constructed, simulating how cyclones subject to these forces exhibit similar oscillatory motion.

Preprint

Comment: 9 pages, 5 figures, 11 supplementary pages, 9 supplementary figures

Subjects: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Physics - Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics; Physics - Geophysics

URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/2209.00309