Jupiter and Saturn have equivalents of Earth’s Quasi-Biennial Oscillation 

Posted: December 13, 2017 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Cycles, research, solar system dynamics, Temperature, wind

Jupiter’s cloud bands [image credit: NASA]

The report says: ‘On Earth, this relationship between distant events in a planet’s climate system is known as teleconnection.’ The surprise was to find evidence of it on both of the solar system’s two biggest planets.

Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet’s equator, finds the international Cassini mission in a study led by Dr Leigh Fletcher from the University of Leicester.

This effect is also seen in Earth’s atmosphere, suggesting the two planets are more alike than previously thought, reports Phys.org.

Despite their considerable differences, the atmospheres of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn all display a remarkably similar phenomenon in their equatorial regions: vertical, cyclical, downwards-moving patterns of alternating temperatures and wind systems that repeat over a period of multiple years.

These patterns—known as the Quasi-Periodic Oscillation (QPO) on Saturn and the Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation (QQO) on Jupiter, due to their similarities to Earth’s so-called Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO)—appear to be a defining characteristic of the middle layers of a planetary atmosphere.

Earth’s QBO is regular and predictable, repeating every 28 months on average. However, it can be disrupted by events occurring at great distances from the equator of our planet—and a new study reveals that the same is true of Saturn’s QPO.

“These oscillations can be thought of as a planet’s heartbeat,” says Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester, UK, lead author of the study (published in Nature Astronomy) and co-investigator of Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS). “Cassini spotted them on Saturn about a decade ago, and Earth-based observations have seen them on Jupiter, too. Although the atmospheres of the distant gas giants may appear startlingly different to our own, when we look closely we start to discover these familiar natural patterns.”

“We looked at data of Saturn’s ‘heartbeat’, which repeats roughly every 15 Earth years, and found a huge disturbance—a palpitation, to continue the metaphor—spanning 2011 to 2013, where the whole equatorial region cooled dramatically,” adds co-author Sandrine Guerlet from Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD), France.

“When we checked the timing, we realised this happened directly after the eruption of a giant storm that wrapped around Saturn’s entire northern hemisphere. This suggests a link between the two events: we think that the wave activity associated with this huge storm headed towards the equator and disrupted the QPO, despite the storm raging tens of thousands of kilometres away!”

Continued here.
– – –
Study (2017): Disruption of Saturn’s quasi-periodic equatorial oscillation by the great northern storm

Study (1991): The quasiquadrennial oscillation of Jupiter’s equatorial stratosphere

  1. ren says:

    This is a strong proof of the influence of solar activity on weather anomalies.

  2. oldbrew says:

    The abstract says: Here, we reveal that Saturn’s equatorial quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) (with an ~15-year period) can also be dramatically perturbed.

    Disruption of Saturn’s quasi-periodic equatorial oscillation by the great northern storm

    Looks like two per Saturn orbit. From the report:

    This storm was known as the Great Northern Storm. Such storms occur roughly once every Saturnian year, which is equivalent to 30 Earth years.
    – – –
    From the 1991 Jupiter study: A new 11-year record of Jupiter’s stratospheric temperature shows an equatorial temperature oscillation with an apparent period of 4–5 years. Here we compare this oscillation to two long-period oscillations of zonal winds in the Earth’s equatorial stratosphere, and propose that the same mechanism —forcing by the stresses of vertically propagating waves— is responsible for the oscillations on both planets. [bold added]

    – – –
    Or Saturn might have 4 QPO per ~60 year cycle (3 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions), with Jupiter having 12-15 QQO in the same period.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Dynamics of the Disrupted 2015/16 Quasi-Biennial Oscillation

    Lawrence Coy
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, and Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland
    Paul A. Newman and Steven Pawson
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    Leslie R. Lait
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, and Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

    A significant disruption of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) occurred during the Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter of 2015/16. Since the QBO is the major wind variability source in the tropical lower stratosphere and influences the rate of ascent of air entering the stratosphere, understanding the cause of this singular disruption may provide new insights into the variability and sensitivity of the global climate system. Here this disruptive event is examined using global reanalysis winds and temperatures from 1980 to 2016. Results reveal record maxima in tropical horizontal momentum fluxes and wave forcing of the tropical zonal mean zonal wind over the NH 2015/16 winter. The Rossby waves responsible for these record tropical values appear to originate in the NH and were focused strongly into the tropics at the 40-hPa level. Two additional NH winters, 1987/88 and 2010/11, were also found to have large tropical lower-stratospheric momentum flux divergences; however, the QBO westerlies did not change to easterlies in those cases.


  4. Paul Vaughan says:

    messed up analogy (sloppy sorting and classification) — correct analogy is with semi-annual, not QBO

  5. oldbrew says:

    2:7 QPO:QQO looks plausible. Note 2:7 ratio here…


    The paper abstract says: Jupiter’s 4–5-year period quasi-quadrennial oscillation (QQO2) and Saturn’s 14.7 ± 0.9-year QPO
    – – –
    Miles Mathis theorises: ‘Jupiter’s charge influence [is] 3.5 times that of Saturn’

    The Cause of the Solar Cycle

    1:3.5 = 2:7

  6. oldbrew says:

    Summary: Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet’s equator, finds the international Cassini mission.

    This storm was known as the Great Northern Storm. Such storms occur roughly once every Saturnian year, which is equivalent to 30 Earth years. The timing of the storm was thus serendipitous, allowing Cassini to observe it in detail from orbit around the ringed planet.


  7. ren says:

    Figure 97. The effect of QBO phase and solar activity on Northern Hemisphere winter stratospheric temperature and geopotential height. a) Composite December-January 30 mbar temperature anomaly (°C, 1981-2010 baseline) for seven QBO east years. The situation corresponds to a disorganized polar vortex with more frequent cold Arctic surface air incursions at lower latitudes. b) Same as in a, for five QBO west years. A well organized polar vortex keeps Arctic air trapped underneath. c) Composite January-March 500 mbar geopotential height anomaly (m, 1981-2010 baseline) for eighteen solar minimum years. A high winter North Pole geopotential is associated to a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation. d) December-February correlation index between solar index and geopotential height for the 1980-2014 period. High solar activity correlates with low geopotential height over the Arctic. Source: NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis.

  8. […] Jupiter and Saturn have equivalents of Earth’s Quasi-Biennial Oscillation  […]

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