The White Tops – July-August 1962 PDF

The atmosphere of Jupiter the White Tops – July-August 1962 PDF the largest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System. The atmosphere of Jupiter lacks a clear lower boundary and gradually transitions into the liquid interior of the planet.


Jupiter has powerful storms, often accompanied by lightning strikes. The storms are a result of moist convection in the atmosphere connected to the evaporation and condensation of water. They are sites of strong upward motion of the air, which leads to the formation of bright and dense clouds. The storms form mainly in belt regions. The lightning strikes on Jupiter are hundreds of times more powerful than those seen on Earth, and are assumed to be associated with the water clouds. Vertical structure of the atmosphere of Jupiter. Note that the temperature drops together with altitude above the tropopause.

The Galileo atmospheric probe stopped transmitting at a depth of 132 km below the 1 bar « surface » of Jupiter. The atmosphere of Jupiter is classified into four layers, by increasing altitude: the troposphere, stratosphere, thermosphere and exosphere. Since the lower boundary of the atmosphere is ill-defined, the pressure level of 10 bars, at an altitude of about 90 km below 1 bar with a temperature of around 340 K, is commonly treated as the base of the troposphere. The vertical temperature gradients in the Jovian atmosphere are similar to those of the atmosphere of Earth. The temperature of the troposphere decreases with height until it reaches a minimum at the tropopause, which is the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere.

Jupiter’s troposphere contains a complicated cloud structure. The upper clouds, located in the pressure range 0. 9 bar, are made of ammonia ice. Jupiter’s thermosphere is located at pressures lower than 1 μbar and demonstrates such phenomena as airglow, polar aurorae and X-ray emissions. The composition of Jupiter’s atmosphere is similar to that of the planet as a whole. The reason for this low abundance is not entirely understood, but some of the helium may have condensed into the core of Jupiter.

Earth- and spacecraft-based measurements have led to improved knowledge of the isotopic ratios in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The visible surface of Jupiter is divided into several bands parallel to the equator. There are two types of bands: lightly colored zones and relatively dark belts. The difference in the appearance between zones and belts is caused by differences in the opacity of the clouds. Ammonia concentration is higher in zones, which leads to the appearance of denser clouds of ammonia ice at higher altitudes, which in turn leads to their lighter color. On the other hand, in belts clouds are thinner and are located at lower altitudes. The origin of Jupiter’s banded structure is not completely clear, though it may be similar to that driving the Earth’s Hadley cells.